The peregrine falcon (Falco peregrinus), also known as the peregrine, and historically as the duck hawk in North America, is a widespread bird of prey (raptor) in the family Falconidae
The peregrine’s breeding range includes land regions from the Arctic tundra to the tropics.
It can be found nearly everywhere on Earth, except extreme polar regions, very high mountains, and most tropical rain forests; the only major ice-free landmass from which it is entirely absent is New Zealand. This makes it the world’s most widespread raptor, and one of the most widely found bird species.
Peregrine falcons have adapted to living in many cities and make use of tall buildings that provide suitable ledges for nesting and depend on the large populations of pigeons and starlings in cities for food. They dive and catch their prey in mid-air. Peregrines have few natural predators.
See an example of this interesting nesting habit below:
Peregrine falcons’ mate for life and breed in the same territory each year. The male courts the female for about one month, using aerial displays.
They make a nest, or scrape, on ledges and in small caves located high on a cliff. Some peregrine falcons will use man-made structures such as bridges and skyscrapers to nest.
The courtship flight includes a mix of aerial acrobatics, precise spirals, and steep dives. The male passes prey it has caught to the female in mid-air. To make this possible, the female actually flies upside-down to receive the food from the male’s talons.
During the breeding season, the peregrine falcon is territorial; nesting pairs are usually more than 1 km (0.62 mi) apart, and often much farther, even in areas with large numbers of pairs.
The distance between nests ensures sufficient food supply for pairs and their chicks. Within a breeding territory, a pair may have several nesting ledges; the number used by a pair can vary from one or two up to seven in a 16-year period.