Belongs to: birds of prey

Compare with: hobby

Peregrine Falco peregrinus

Best time to see: all year

Key facts

Spectacular falcon that 'stoops' to dive-bomb its prey at speeds well over 100 mph

They almost died out last century from persecution and pesticide poisoning, but have been recovering

Normally nest on inaccessible rock ledges but have taken to ledges on tall buildings, including in London and Southend


Male (tiercel) has long pointed wings and long tail, grey back, barred underparts and heavy black 'moustache'; 36–38 cm

Female (falcon) is browner and larger; 45–47 cm

In flight, alternate rapid flapping with long glides, until they spot prey below and dive to strike it


Nest either on a bare ledge or in the abandoned nest of another species

One brood of 3–4 red-brown eggs, usually in April, incubated mainly by female

Both parents feed the young, which leave the nest after 35–40 days

© David Harrison

© Alan Williams