Falcons are a raptor species in the Falco genus containing around forty different species. These birds of prey are found on every continent except Antarctica in many different habitats. Falcons are famous for their high-speed flying skills and quick maneuverability in the air.
While falcons are typically a solitary species, they occasionally fly in groups when using thermals to stay aloft.
When observers see these groups of falcons, they usually refer to them as a Kettle.
Other common collective nouns for falcons include:
- Stooping Up
- Ringing Up
Falcons are closely related to hawks and often mistaken for them. However, falcons can be differentiated from hawks by observing their wing and body shape while aloft. Falcons typically have smaller bodies but longer wings than hawks.
Like all birds of prey, falcons eat other animals they capture while swooping down on the unsuspecting prey from above. Unlike many birds of prey, however, falcons are quite good at taking down prey species that fly, even preying on birds much larger than themselves.
Typical prey species for falcons include ducks, pigeons, gulls, and shorebirds. Larger prey species include birds as big as geese and sandhill cranes. Falcons even steal food captured by other raptor species, such as fish and rodents. They snag the food from the other bird’s claws in mid-air and fly away.
What is a Group of Peregrine Falcons Called?
Out of all of the falcon species, the peregrine falcons have the best eyesight and can see better and at a higher resolution than humans. In addition, peregrine falcons can fly faster than any other bird species during a dive at rates as high as 200 miles per hour (320 kilometers per hour).
Like other falcons, peregrine falcons are a solitary species but occasionally form loose groups while riding thermals.
Groups of peregrine falcons, like all falcons, are typically called a Kettle.
Other common collective nouns include:
- Stooping Up
Peregrine falcons can be raised and bred in captivity and used in falconry. Male peregrine falcons are typically called a tiercel, while females are called falcons. These captive birds are used in hunting game species and improve air-traffic safety to reduce bird-plane strikes.
These falcons are one of the best examples of a success story thanks to the Endangered Species Act. The peregrine falcon population plummeted when the use of DDT was used throughout their range.
Once the United States banned DDT, the peregrine falcon population rebounded. This species was endangered but now has a rating of Least Concern. Captive breeding programs helped with this. Unfortunately, DDT is still permitted in some countries where they overwinter.
What is a Group of Baby Falcons Called?
Falcons typically nest in high locations, on the tops of trees, bridges, or cliffs. In urban settings, they nest on the sides or tops of skyscrapers. Falcons return to the same nesting location year after year and lay eggs in scrapes, depressions, or old nests left by other birds.
While there is no specific collective noun for a group of baby falcons, the family of falcons is often referred to as a nest of falcons.
Female falcons lay around four eggs and incubate them for just over four weeks. While the female sits on the nest, the male partner hunts for food and feeds the female. Once hatched, the chicks eat small pieces of meat until they are ready to leave the nest.
The falcon nestlings typically stay in the nest for five to six weeks. Once the young falcons leave the nest, they stay with their parents for a few months to learn how to hunt and feed before leaving.
What is a Pair of Falcons Called?
When falcons mate, they usually mate for life. These monogamous pairs of falcons do not have a specific name and frequently are referred to as a pair of falcons. These falcon pairs are territorial during the breeding season, so they build their nests a minimum of a kilometer (0.62 miles) apart.
While falcons are known to be monogamous, if one falcon dies, the other one will eventually acquire a new mate. If one member of the pair dies during breeding season, often, the nest is abandoned. However, female falcons sometimes find a new mate to help raise the young.
Do Falcons Flock Together in Groups?
Falcons do not flock together in groups in the way other bird species flock together. Like other birds of prey, falcons lead mostly solitary lives. However, these birds occasionally have a reason to flock together, and people will see them moving in groups.
For the few months when falcons court, nest, and breed, they form family groups of five or six birds. These family flocks do not stay together for long, and after breeding, they split off to become solitary hunters again.
Falcons also flock together during their migration. Birds of prey create groups called kettles and follow the same migration route. These routes often offer the best migration strategy for these birds by providing places with thermal updrafts that support efficient long-distance travel.
Birds of prey form these large kettles as they move through narrow sections of airspace where the updrafts form. These raptors catch the drafts and circle upwards, which looks like a boiling cauldron of birds. While they look like they are flocking, they are not working together like bird flocks typically do.
Do Falcons Migrate?
Many falcons migrate annually from their breeding grounds to overwintering areas. Peregrine falcons sometimes migrate more than 3,700 miles (6,000 kilometers). The record migration distance for a peregrine falcon is more than 6,600 miles (10,670 kilometers).
Male falcons usually migrate further than females, sometimes flying as far south as South America. Female falcons, although often bigger than males, typically stop migrating once they arrive in Central America.
Falcons exhibit high site fidelity for both their overwintering and nesting locations. Male and female falcons have large hunting ranges within both their winter and breeding areas and behave territorially within those ranges.