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Prairie falcon.jpg
Prairie falcon (Falco mexicanus)
Scientific classification
Kingdom Information
Domain Eukaryota
Kingdom Animalia
Subkingdom Bilateria
Branch Deuterostomia
Phylum Information
Phylum Chordata
Sub-phylum Vertebrata
Infraphylum Gnathostomata
Class Information
Superclass Tetrapoda
Class Aves
Sub-class Neornithes
Infra-class Neoaves
Order Information
Superorder Passerimorphae
Order Ciconiiformes
Sub-order Ciconii
Infraorder Falconides
Family Information
Family Falconidae
Sub-family Falconinae
Genus Information
Genus Falco
Population statistics

Falcon is the general name for any of 65 species of bird in the family Falconidae, but especially restricted to the 38 species of the genus Falco. Known as birds of prey, falcons are characterized by a bullet-shaped body, pointed wings, and the ability to fly and maneuver at great speed while hunting; one species - the Peregrine falcon (Falco peregrinus) - has been clocked in excess of 200 miles-per-hour while in a dive.[1]

Falcons have also been used by man for hunting purposes (see Falconry), as well as being a barometer for man's abuse of the environment via habitat destruction and chemical spraying.


Falcons vary in color among species, but are generally dark above a lighter-colored chest and belly. Their tails are long, an aid in maneuvering quickly while hunting. Falcons are powerful fliers; unlike other birds of prey or their close relatives, caracaras, they seldom soar.

Falcons are generally solitary or live in pairs. Nests are in cliffs, trees, or on building ledges, and often the nests of other birds which falcons have taken over. Females lay two to six eggs, and both parents incubate, and later care for the young.