Nature Journal
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Peregrine Falcon Identification Tips
(Credit: U. S. Geological Survey)
 
General Information:
- Length: 15 inches Wingspan: 40 inches
- Large falcon
- Long, pointed wings extend to tail tip at rest
- Short, dark, hooked beak

Adult:
- Black cap and moustache
- Pale throat and breast
- Barred belly
- Gray upperparts
- Underwings barred black and white
- Long, thin tail with gray and white bands
- Arctic race is paler; Northwest race is darker

Immature:
- Dark brown cap and moustache
- Dark brown upperparts
- Streaked underparts
- Some races have paler heads

Similar species:
The long, pointed wings and long tail mark this bird as being a falcon. It is most likely to be confused with other falcons. Merlin is much smaller, has a less-distinct mustache mark, and a more strongly barred tail. Prairie Falcon has a black underwing patch and lacks the strong moustache mark. Gyrfalcon is larger with broader wings and tail and lacks the bold moustache mark. When perched, other falcons' wings do not reach the end of the tail as they do in the Peregrine.

Length and wingspan from: Robbins, C.S., Bruun, B., Zim, H.S., (1966). Birds of North America. New York: Western Publishing Company, Inc.
 
 
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