Peregrine Falcon (Falco peregrinus)

See Peregrine Falcons and much more in Cornwall with Orca Sea Safaris.

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Peregrine Falcons in Cornwall

We are lucky to have a rich variety of habitats on our doorstop, attracting many different species of birds, both as residents and migrants passing through.


Rugged cliffs, muddy creeks, salt-marsh, sandy and rocky shores, sheltered coves and freshwater means a wide range of species can be seen on our trips:


  • Gannet
  • Fulmar
  • Peregrine Falcon
  • Guillemot
  • Cormorants and Shags


Bring your binoculars and see how many species you can spot!

  • Peregrine Falcon (Falco peregrinus)

We know of three pairs of Peregrine Falcons that nest around the coast of Falmouth and we always enjoy seeing these birds of prey against the backdrop of the cliffs. They sometimes put on great aerobatic displays for us, swooping to chase each other or with deadly intent to catch their prey. A pair of binoculars is a must for trying to spot these birds as they blend in very well to the surrounding cliff and can stay still for a very long time! Book online to come on a sea safari and help us try to find them.

Identification:

  • Wingspan of 36- 48cm. Wings are pointed and the tail is relatively short.
  • Slate grey upper parts and lighter grey/ speckled under parts.
  • A black hood over the head with a white face. The black comes down to the face to look like a moustache.

Distribution and Breeding:
Rocky sea cliffs around the north and west coast of Britain, in the uplands in the north. They breed on rock faces of cliffs, offshore islands, quarries and also at the top of tall buildings in towns. Some nest sites have been used for hundreds of years. Once the eggs have been laid in March to April, the chicks hatch after 33 days and leave the nest after 39 days. They are still dependent on their parents for food, but gradually become independent. In the winter time, peregrines hunt over agricultural land.

Conservation:
Peregrines have faced a lot of threats in the past and still do now, although to a lesser extent. They have been persecuted by gamekeepers and landowners, suffered at the hands of egg thieves and during World War 2 they were killed to protect homing pigeons. Peregrines suffered a disastrous decline when agricultural insecticides became widely used, as did many other birds of prey. These days control of certain harmful agricultural chemicals and legal protection have helped to slow the population decline, however they are still at risk from illegal egg collectors.