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introduction to the Falcon

One of the most remarkable and recognized birds in the world, the Falcon captivate people by its strength, speed, and beauty. Falcons are the largest of the accipiter family of birds and are the most widely distributed species in the family. They are found on all of the world’s continents except Antarctica and include more than 40 species worldwide. Falconry is one of the oldest sports worldwide, and with good reason – the Falcon is an animal of intrigue and amazement. In this article, we’ll dive into the world of the Falcon, from their biology and surrounding opportunities for the enthusiast, to some of the best Falcon breeds for both hunting and companion animals.

Falcon Species and Sub-Species

Falcons are divided into 4 main genera: Falco, Hierofalco, Microhierax, and Polihierax. Within these 4 genera, there are roughly 40 Falcon species and numerous Falcon sub-species. Of these, the most common and well-known are the peregrine Falcon, prairie Falcon, Saker Falcon, lanner Falcon, gyrfalcon, merlin, and hobby.

The peregrine Falcon is one of the most widely distributed and recognizable Falcon species. It is a medium-sized Falcon, with a broad, black head and chest, a white chin and throat, and brown wings and tail. They are among the fastest flyers on the planet, reaching speeds of up to 200 mph in a dive. The peregrine Falcon is also one of the most versatile hunters, able to switch from a quiet and patient long-distance pursuit to a sudden and explosive attack in seconds.

The prairie Falcon is a smaller and slimmer species, found mainly in the North American prairies and western grasslands. They are known for their ability to hover and twist in the air, as well as their astounding speed and agility – they can sometimes be seen reaching speeds of up to 120 mph in horizontal flight.

The Saker Falcon is a large, powerful bird found on the steppes of Eurasia and some parts of the Middle East. They are known for their bold personalities and the ability to hunt in a variety of climates. They are also clever and resourceful hunters, with some species able to hunt in darkness or fog and even snatch prey directly from the water.

The lanner Falcon is another large and powerful Falcon, found in warm climates – from the Arabian Peninsula and North Africa, to the Mediterranean and Middle East. They are known for their intelligence and resourcefulness, and some are even able to work successfully with falconers.

The gyrfalcon is the largest of the Falcon species, and the most powerful. They are found in the Arctic regions of the Northern Hemisphere, and are famously shy and difficult to hunt. They have a wide variety of colors, ranging from white to a dark grey-brown, and are prized among falconers for their strength and courage.

The merlin is a short and stocky Falcon, found primarily in the northern and northeastern parts of North America. They are known for their smaller size, wide variety of colors, and amazing speed and agility.

Finally, the hobby Falcon is a small but powerful species, found in the sub-Saharan regions of Africa as well as parts of Asia. They are known for their strength and incredible speed – able to reach speeds of up to 170 mph in vertical flight.

Falconry and Roosts

Falconry is one of the oldest sports known to mankind, and with good reason. Falcons are extraordinary hunters and are relatively easy to maintain as long as they have a suitable place to roost.

A falconer’s roost should be a comfortable and secure location for their birds. Ideally, it should be a large space with high perches or roosts for the bird to balance on. It should also be sheltered from the sun and wind, with plenty of vegetation nearby to provide food and a hideaway.

When it comes to feeding your Falcon, there are a few key components that should be taken into account:

• Birds have specific nutritional needs, and you want to make sure your Falcon gets the best quality food available. Mealworms, crickets, quail, and rodents are all good options for Falcon food.

• You should also try to maximize the nutritional value of your food. Instead of feeding your Falcon raw meat, opt for cooked meat or meat-based pre-mixes, as they are easier to digest and provide more nutrients.

• Falcons also need to exercise regularly in order to stay healthy. It is important to provide them with ample opportunity to fly and stretch their wings in a safe and secure environment.

Finally, when it comes to training your Falcon, it is important to take a patient and gentle approach. Training sessions should be short and focused, and rewards should always be provided to keep the bird positively motivated.

Falcon two

Falcon Breeds for Hunting and Companion Animals

Whether you’re an experienced falconer looking for a hunting buddy or just a hobbyist interested in having a Falcon as a companion animal, there are many Falcon breeds well suited for both.

For those looking for a hunting partner, the peregrine Falcon, prairie Falcon, Saker Falcon, and lanner Falcon are all excellent choices. They are powerful and resourceful hunters with remarkable speed and agility, and all make great hunting partners provided they are properly trained.

For those looking for a companion Falcon, the merlin and hobby Falcon are both excellent choices. Merlins are gentle and docile, with an affinity for human companionship, and hobbies are slightly more outgoing and energetic, but still make excellent companions that are both intelligent and loyal.


The Falcon is a truly remarkable bird recognized worldwide for its strength, speed, and beauty. From the fierce hunting creature of lore, to the gentle companion animal of the modern era, the Falcon is something that has captivated people for centuries. For those looking to get into Falconry, understanding the different species, breeds, and training needs is the key to having a successful experience. With their range of breeds, temperaments, and hunting capabilities, the Falcon truly stands out among the mammalian and avian wildlife.

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