RSPB
Skip navigation

Conservation status: Green

The peregrine is a large and powerful falcon. It has long, broad, pointed wings and a relatively short tail. It is blue-grey above, with a blackish top of the head and an obvious black 'moustache' that contrasts with its white face. Its breast is finely spotted. It is swift and agile in flight, chasing prey. The strongholds of the breeding birds in the UK are the uplands of the north and west and rocky seacoasts. Peregrines have suffered illegal killing from gamekeepers and landowners, and been a target for egg collectors, but better legal protection and control of pesticides (which indirectly poisoned birds) have helped the population to recover considerably from a low in the 1960s. Some birds, particularly females and juveniles, move away from the uplands in autumn.

Illustrations

Overview

Latin name

Falco peregrinus

Family

Falcons and allies (Falconidae)

Where to see them

Found along rocky seacliffs and the uplands of the UK are both good places in the breeding season. East coast marshes where there are large gatherings of birds can be a good place in the winter. There are Date with nature events across the UK where you can watch the birds during the breeding season.

When to see them

All year round

What they eat

Medium-sized birds, such as wading birds, pigeons and small ducks.

Population

EuropeUK breeding*UK wintering*UK passage*
-1,500 pairs--

Distribution

Key

Audio

Tomas Belka, Xeno-canto

Similar birds