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Uploaded on on Jun 30, 2021

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Falcons are birds of prey in the genus Falco, which includes about 40 species. Falcons are widespread on all continents of the world except Antarctica, although closely related raptors did occur there in the Eocene.

Adult falcons have thin, tapered wings that allow them to fly at high speed and change direction quickly. Fledgling falcons, in their first year of flight, have longer flight feathers, making their configuration more similar to that of a general-purpose bird, such as a broad-wing. This makes flying easier while learning the exceptional skills needed to be effective hunters as adults.

Falcons are the largest genus in theFalconinae subfamily of Falconidae, which also includes another subfamily, including caracar and several other species. All of these birds kill with their beaks, using a “tooth” on their beak side – unlike hawks, eagles, and other birds of prey in the Accipitridae, which use their feet.

The largest falcon is the gyrfalcon, up to 65 cm long. The smallest falcon species is the Pygmy falcon, which is only 20 cm in size. As with falcons and owls, falcons show sexual dimorphism, with females usually larger than males. allowing a wider range of prey species.

Some small falcons with long, narrow wings are called “hobbies,” and some which hover while hunting is called “kestrels”

As with many birds of prey, falcons have exceptional visual power; the visual acuity of a species has been measured 2.6 times more than that of a normal human. Peregrine falcons have been recorded diving at 320 km / h (200 mph), making them the fastest creatures on Earth; the fastest recorded dive attained a vertical speed of 390 km / h (240 mph).

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The name of the genus Falco is from the Late Latin falx, falcis, a sickle that refers to the claws of a bird. In Middle English and Old French, the title faucon refers to several types of captive raptor species.

The traditional term for a male falcon is tercel (British spelling) or tiercel (American spelling), from the Latin tertius (third) due to the belief that only one in three eggs hatched by a male bird. Some sources indicate the etymology due to the fact that the male falcon is about a third smaller than the female (Old French: tiercelet). A falcon chick, one reared especially for falconry, still in its downy stage is known as eyas (sometimes spelled eyass). The word appears by the erroneous separation of the Old French un niais from the Latin presumed nidiscus (nestling) from nidus (nest). The technique of hunting with birds of prey trained in captive is known as falconry.

Compared to other birds of prey, the fossil are not well distributed over time. The oldest fossils, tentatively assigned for this genus, are from the Late Miocene less than 10 million years ago. This coincides with a time when many modern genera of birds have became recognized in fossil record. However, the falcon’s genus may be a little older than this, and given the distribution of fossil and living Falco taxa, it is likely to be of North American, African, or possibly Middle Eastern or European origin. Falcons are not closely related to other birds of prey, and their closest relatives are parrots and songbirds.

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