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Aleutian or Black Falcon (Falco peregrinus pealei)


Russian name. Black Hawk (Commander Islands).

Area. Nesting area Aleutian (Black) Falcon very limited and located on the islands of the North Pacific Ocean approximately between 50-55 ° C. W .: Aleutian, Queen Charlotte and Commander (Bering and Mednom). On the Kuril Islands, falcons as if transitional between Siberian ("calidus") and black (Yamasina, 1931). In non-breeding time, it falls on the coast of North America from British Columbia (r. Skin) and California to Oregon, makes flights to Japan (Hakodate), to Manchuria (?), In Primorye and Kamchatka, in Primorye, most likely, individual individuals there come across in the winter.

Nature of the stay. The black falcon is sedentary; some of the individuals roam.

Habitat. The Aleutian falcon prefers rocky sea coasts, often near bird markets.

Number. In general, the Aleutian falcon is small in number, due to the small area of ​​distribution, but inside it is not uncommon. There are 13 nests on Queen Charlotte Island in the northwest corner, on the Lonsar Island of the same group, a pair for every 20 square meters. miles, sometimes nest from nest only 2 miles (Green, 1916).

Breeding. Dates are unclear. Young falcons with traces of fluff and underdeveloped flywheels and helmsmen were caught on Medny Island quite early on June 30th. This suggests that the clutch occurs in the first third of May, the final departure from the nest can be attributed to mid-July (counting the nesting period at 35, and incubation at 28 days, like other falcons). Consequently, the mating season begins earlier than the tundra and Yakut races. The nests of the Aleutian falcon are primitive, placed on rocks (sometimes easily accessible), and often among bird colonies - eider (Turner, 1886), skuas and Bering cormorants, and the nest of cormorants can be 1.2 m from the falcon. There are 4 eggs in the clutch, and this resembles the northern subspecies. Sizes (34) of eggs are on average 53, Zx41.4, limit 58x43, 48.5x41, 52.9x39 mm (Green, 1916). Repeated clutches were noted: in this case, if the clutches were taken away from the birds before incubation began, the second clutch would occur within 10 days, if incubation began, then only after 3 weeks. Single young from the already broken broods were observed in August (Commander Islands, Johansen, 1934).

Nutrition. The Aleutian falcon feeds almost exclusively on seabirds, with the falcon flying quite far from the coast (for example, there are observations of a black falcon catching a sandbox Calidris minutilla 50 miles offshore) and eats on the fly. There is an attack of this falcon on white partridges, a grebe, a seagull, ducks, among which there are pintail and bluefish, different waders, but mainly on hatchets - a hatchet Lunda cirrhata, cairo, lurik - the old man Synlthliboramphus antiquus, red saffron Brachyramphus marmoratus u others. In North America, the food of this falcon is mainly listed as cleaners. Synthliboramphus antiquus, Ptychoramphus aleuticus, Cerorhinca monocerata, Brachyramphus marmoratus, also waders, less often partridges (Bond, 1946). In places, falcons feed almost exclusively on old people nesting in colonies (northwestern part of Queen Charlotte Island). In Primorye, a horse was found in the stomach of a caught Aleutian falcon, a falcon attack on a dipper was observed. Along the shores of the Commander Islands and Kamchatka in the fall, falcons feed on small cleaners, such as old people, as well as ducks and silly girls.

Description. Dimensions and structure. The Aleutian falcon is the largest of the falcons: the wing of males (5) 318-322, females (7) 365-387 mm, an average of 326 and 376.85 mm. The tail is relatively longer than that of other races: the ratio of the length of the middle finger to the length of the tail is 0.320-0.263, an average of 0.287, while the tundra and Central Russian falcons have 0.345-0.290, an average of 0.318 (Stegman, 1929). Weight of a young female (1) 1179 g.

Coloring. The Aleutian falcon is the darkest subspecies of the falcon of our fauna. In the first (nesting) outfit, the upper side is almost uniformly dark brown, there are no light rims of feathers or they are slightly noticeable, the lower side is also brown with a white chin and throat and whitish edges of feathers, whitish transverse mottles on the sides. In the final outfit, they look like Yakut falcons from above, with a blackish head and interscapular region, from the bottom they are whitish, without a reddish tint, with a very rough and thick dark pattern, longitudinal on the goiter and chest, transverse on the sides, legs, and under tail. Males are somewhat brighter than females.

Source: Birds of the Soviet Union, t.1. - M .: Owls. the science. 1951.

Bird description

Peregrine Falcon is a large falcon with a body length of 34 to 50 cm, wingspan from 80 to 120 cm. Females are larger than males: their weight is from 910 to 1500 g, and males are usually one third less, their weight is from 440 to 750 g. The color of the plumage is the same for males and females.

The bird is distinguished by a strong physique with a wide chest, strong fingers with sharp curved claws, and a short, sickle-shaped beak. The plumage of adult birds on the back, wings and nadhvid is aspid gray, with dark transverse stripes. At the tips of the wings are painted black. The tummy is light: from grayish-white, pinkish to reddish or buffy tones, with brown or black thin transverse streaks. The breast is decorated with drop-shaped streaks. The tail is long and narrow, rounded at the end. The bottom of the tail is black with a white border. The head is black on top, black "mustache" stretches from the angle of the beak to the throat, the throat is light, white or reddish. The eyes are large, dark brown, with a yellow periocular ring. Yellow wax, black beak and paws. At the end of the beak there are teeth designed to bite the victim’s spine.

Young individuals are feathered in contrast. They have a brown back with buffy edges of coverts, a light belly with longitudinal streaks. The wax is bluish-gray in color, the legs are yellow.

Peregrine Falcon Features

Peregrine Falcon preys on birds of medium and small sizes: sparrows, blackbirds, starlings, pigeons, ducks. Basically, those species of birds that are common in its habitat. In addition to birds, the peregrine falcon diet includes small mammals, for example, bats, squirrels and hares, as well as amphibians and insects. Siberian subspecies of peregrine falcon eats lemmings, ground squirrels, voles.

Peregrine falcons hunt in the morning and in the evening, often in pairs. They catch prey on the fly. A peregrine falcon can be ambushed for a long time, sit on a high ledge, or fly low above the ground to scare the victim. Having noticed prey in the air, the bird instantly gains height, folds its wings and sharply dives vertically down. During such a flight, the peregrine Falcon's speed reaches 322 km / h, or 90 m / s, so this bird has earned the title of the fastest living organism in the world. The blow to the victim is of such force that the head flies off or the body is torn apart along its entire length. If the force of the blow does not kill the victim, then the falcon breaks its neck with its beak. With food, the peregrine falcon rises to an elevation, where it eats it.

Bird spread

Peregrine Falcon is a cosmopolitan bird, widespread on all continents (except Antarctica), and on the islands. Unpretentious to habitat conditions, Peregrine Falcon easily masters both the Arctic tundra and hot tropics. In general, the bird is found almost everywhere, except for the polar and alpine regions, steppes, deserts and tropical rainforests. In the mountains, peregrine falcons live at altitudes of up to 4000 m above sea level.

For life, peregrine falcons prefer areas inaccessible to humans with a wide horizon and proximity of water, for example, rocky shores of reservoirs, valleys of mountain rivers. Peregrine falcons occasionally live in settlements.

Most of the population leads a sedentary lifestyle, or migrates not far for the winter. Only birds living in the arctic and subarctic climate make distant migrations.

Subspecies Falco peregrinus calidus Latham

Known as the tundra, or white-headed falcon, which lives in the Eurasian tundra and on the islands of the Arctic Ocean. Migratory subspecies, flies in the winter to the eastern coast of the Mediterranean, Black and Caspian Seas, to Central Asia. It is generally painted lighter, especially in the head area, there are no red tones in the plumage. The mass of males is 588-740 g, females 925-1333 g.

Subspecies Falco peregrinus brookei Sharpe

Also known as the Maltese Falcon. Distributed in the Mediterranean, on the Iberian Peninsula, in North-West Africa, Asia Minor, the Caucasus and the southern coast of Crimea. Sedentary bird. The sizes are small, the belly with a red tint. The weight of males is up to 445 g, females are up to 920 g.

Subspecies Falco peregrinus madens Ripley & Watson

Lives on the Cape Verde Islands and differs from other peregrine falcons in the presence of sexual dimorphism in color: males have reddish streaks on the head, nape, ears and back, and on the tummy they are pinkish-brown, females are uniformly brown. The subspecies is on the verge of extinction.

Subspecies Falco peregrinus anatum Bonaparte

It is found only in North America. Sedentary and rare species. It is small in size, the mass of males is 500-570 g, females - up to 960 g. Adult individuals are light and less motley on the belly, and young individuals are dark and with a pronounced banding.

Subspecies Falco peregrinus pealei Ridgway

Known as the Aleutian, or Black Falcon, lives on the Pacific coast of North America. Less common in Kamchatka and the Kuril Islands. Does not migrate. The largest subspecies with pronounced stripes on the belly. The beak is wide. Young individuals have a bright upper part of the head.

Subspecies Falco peregrinus tundrius White

The habitat is the Arctic tundra of North America and Greenland. A migratory subspecies that migrates to Central and South America in the winter. A small and bright bird with a pure white forehead and ears, and a dark upper part of the head and a "mustache". Young individuals are brown.

Peregrine falcon breeding

Peregrine falcons reach puberty at the age of 1 year, but begin reproduction at the age of two or three years. Peregrine Falcons are monogamous birds, retain their pairs for many years. Peregrine falcons are also attached to nesting territory.

The mating season begins in peregrine falcons in April-June, later - in northern populations. The male arrives first at the nesting site and begins to call the female, performing air pirouettes: whirls, dives, somersaults. If the female sits nearby, a pair is formed. In this case, peregrine falcons sit side by side for a long time, look at each other, clean feathers. The male often feeds the female.

In the nesting period, peregrine falcons are very aggressive towards outsiders, be it birds, animals or people. The neighboring nests are located at a distance of 2 to 6 km.

Peregrine Falcon nests are built near a reservoir, or occupy old nests of other birds of prey. A hole is excavated in the ground as a nest or a platform is cleared. Litter is missing. Around the peregrine falcon nest, a large number of bone remains of prey always accumulate, and traces of litter of chicks.

Egg laying occurs in late April or early May. The female lays three eggs every 48 hours. The eggs are bright, brownish or red with dark reddish-brown spots. The incubation period lasts from 33 to 35 days, and both partners take part in it, although the female spends most of the time in the nest.

Newborn chicks are covered in gray and white fluff, they have large legs, and they are helpless. The female feeds and warms the offspring, and the male is engaged in obtaining food for the family. On the wing, chicks become between the ages of 35 to 45 days, but for several weeks they continue to depend on their parents until they learn how to independently get their own food. Young peregrine falcons leave the nest around the end of June.

Peregrine Falcon Voice

Peregrine Falcons are quite silent birds. Their voice - a loud, sharp, jerky cry of "kyak-kyak" or "keeek-keeek" - is heard during the mating season, when birds use it to communicate and attract the attention of females. With anxiety, the peregrine falcon publishes a rough, quick “edge-to-edge". During courtship, the birds make loud AI-chip sounds.

Interesting facts about the bird

  • Peregrine Falcon is the fastest bird in the world. In a dive flight, it develops a speed of about 322 km / h, or 90 m / s
  • In 1530, Emperor Charles V transferred the island of Malta to the Knightly Order of the Hospitallers (Order of Malta), and ordered the knights to send him one peregrine falcon every year. This story is described in the novel by the English writer Dashil Hammett “The Maltese Falcon” (1930). And in the United States in 1941, a film was made on this book. One subspecies of peregrine falcons is called "Maltese".
  • Peregrine Falcons have always been considered a rare bird. Due to the use of DDT and other pesticides, the population has begun to decline, but has been slowly recovering since the 1970s. Peregrine Falcon is included in the Red Book of Russia, and the sale of these birds is prohibited throughout the world.