Peregrine falcon
Falco peregrinus
ITIS Species Code:   175604         NatureServ Element Code:   ABNKD06070
NatureServe Global Rank: 
NatureServe State (NC) Rank: 
Federal Status: 
NC State Status: 
Southern Blue Ridge:  19 Southern Piedmont:  19 South Atl. Coastal Plain:  n/a
Land Unit

US Fish & Wildlife Service
US Forest Service
US National Park Service
US Department of Defense
NC State Parks
NC University System
NC Wildlife Res. Com.
NC Forest Service
NC Div. of Coastal Mgmt.
Local Governments
Non-Governmental Org.
Other Public Lands
Private Lands

GAP Status 1-2
All Protected Lands




% of Dist. on
Prot. Lands

0.0 %
69.9 %
< 0.1 %
20.6 %
3.5 %
< 0.1 %
2.7 %
1.6 %
0.0 %
1.0 %
1.0 %
< 0.1 %
0.0 %

30.5 %
% of Dist. on
All Lands

0.0 %
2.3 %
< 0.1 %
0.7 %
0.1 %
< 0.1 %
< 0.1 %
< 0.1 %
0.0 %
< 0.1 %
< 0.1 %
< 0.1 %
96.6 %

1.0 %
Rare in the mountains (Simpson 1992). Hacked birds and their decendants breed sporadically at high elevation (Hamel 1992).

Generally breeds where suitable nesting cliffs along with a combination of forests and large fields, marshes, or water are present (Hamel 1992). Occasionally inhabits cities, nesting on ledges, feeding on pigeons (Kaufman 1996).

Peregrines forages over open areas, and at times in or near forests (Hamel 1992).


Various open situations from tundra, moorlands, steppe, and seacoasts, especially where there are suitable nesting cliffs, to mountains, open forested regions, and human population centers (AOU 1983). When not breeding, occurs in areas where prey concentrate, including farmlands, marshes, lakeshores, river mouths, tidal flats, dunes and beaches, broad river valleys, cities, and airports.

Often nests on ledge or hole on face of rocky cliff or crag. River banks, tundra mounds, open bogs, large stick nests of other species, tree hollows, and man-made structures (e.g., ledges of city buildings) are used locally (Cade 1982). Nests typically are situated on ledges of vertical rocky cliffs, commonly with a sheltering overhang (Palmer 1988, Campbell et al 1990). Tundra populations nests typically on rocky cliffs, bluffs, or dirt banks. Ideal locations include undisturbed areas with a wide view, near water, and close to plentiful prey. Substitute man-made sites include tall buildings, bridges, rock quarries, and raised platforms.

See Grebence and White (1989) for information on nesting along the Colorado River system.


All known territories in NC are centered on large vertical cliffs. The smallest cliffs used to date by re-established peregrines are about 30 m height by 300 m length. Wintering birds occur in Piedmont cities. The breeding population may well expand to these habitats.

Occupied Landcover Map Units:
Code NameDescription NC Natural Heritage Program Equivalent
180 Agricultural Crop Fields Farm fields used for row crops. No equivalent
205 Agricultural Pasture/Hay and Natural Herbaceous Farm fields used for pasture grass or hay production, as well as old fields dominated by native and exotic grasses. No equivalent
213 Barren; quarries, strip mines, and gravel pits Quarries, strip mines, or gravel pits. No equivalent
214 Barren; bare rock and sand Areas of bare rock, sand or clay. No equivalent
202 Residential Urban Includes vegetation interspersed in residential areas. Includes lawns, mixed species woodlots, and horticultural shrubs. Vegetation accounts for between 20 - 70% of the cover. No equivalent
535 Talus/Outcrops/Cliffs Includes seep talus slopes with sparce vegetation, as well as outcrops including, granitic outcrops. Some outcrops will have been mapped as barren rock. No equivalent
View Entire Landcover Legend
Additional Spatial Constraints:
Exclude all area outside of known range.
Exclude areas of intensive human activity including moderately to highly developed landscapes.
Fish and Wildlife Service. 1980. Selected vertebrate endangered secies of the seacoast of the United States - Arctic peregrine falcon. FWS/OBS-80/01.51, Slidell.

Fish and Wildlife Service. 1980. Selected vertebrate endangered species of the seacoast of the United States - American peregrine falcon. FWS/OBS-80/01.57, Slidell.

Ellis, D. H., and R. L. Glinski. 1988. Population estimates for the peregrine falcon in Arizona:a habitat inventory approach. Pages 191-196 in Glinski et al., eds. Proc. Southwest raptor management symposium and workshop. Nat. Wildl. Fed. Sci. and Tech. S

Hubbard, J. P., and C. G. Schmitt. 1988. Organochlorine residues in avian prey of peregrine falcons breeding in New Mexico. Pages 176-181 in Glinski et al., eds. Proc. Southwest raptor management symposium and workshop. Nat. Wildl. Fed. Sci. and Tech. Ser

Johnson, T. H., R. W. Skaggs, and K. E. Skaggs. 1988. Natural breeding performance of the peregrine falcon in New Mexico, 1979-1985. Pages 165-168 in Glinski et al., eds. Proc. Southwest raptor management symposium and workshop. Nat. Wildl. Fed. Sci. and

Johnson, T. H. 1988. Responses of breeding peregrine falcons to human stimuli. Pages 301-305 in Glinski et al., eds. Proc. Southwest raptor management symposium and workshop. Nat. Wildl. Fed. Sci. and Tech. Ser. No. 11.

Lefranc, M. N., Jr., and R. L. Glinski. 1988. Southwest raptor management issues and recommendations. Pages 375-392 in Glinski et al., eds. Proc. Southwest raptor management symposium and workshop. National Wildlife Federation Science and Tech. Ser. No. 1

Peakall, D. B. 1990. Prospects for the peregrine falcon, FALCO PEREGRINUS, in the nineties. Canadian Field-Naturalist 104:168-173.

Titus, K., and M. R. Fuller. 1990. Recent trends in counts of migrant hawks from northeastern North America. Journal of Wildlife Management 54:463-470.

White, C. M., R. W. Fyfe, and D. B. Lemon. 1990. The 1980 North American peregrine falcon, FALCO PEREGRINUS, survey. Canadian Field-Naturalist 104:174-181.

Britten, M.W., C.L. McIntyre, and M. Kralovec. 1995. Satellite radiotelemetry and bird studies in national parks and preserves. Park Science 15(2):20-24.

Holroyd, G. L., and U. Banasch. 1994/95. Trends in peregrine falcon populations in Canada from 1965 to 1990. Bird Trends (Canadian Wildlife Service) (4):11-14.

Ehrlich, P.R., D.S. Dobkin, and D. Wheye. 1992. Birds in jeopardy:the imperiled and extinct birds of the United States and Canada, including Hawaii and Puerto Rico. Stanford University Press, Stanford, California. 259 pp.

Evers, D. C. 1992. A guide to Michigan's endangered wildlife. Univ. Michigan Press, Ann Arbor. viii + 103 pp.

Hamel, P. B. 1992. The land manager's guide to the birds of the south. The Nature Conservancy, Chapel Hill, North Carolina. 367 pp + several appendices.

Kaufman, J., and H. Meng. 1992. Falcons return:restoring an endangered species. Revised second edition. Available from Peregrine Falcon Foundation, New Paltz, New York. 132 pp.

Simpson MB Jr. 1992. Birds of the Blue Ridge Mountains. Chapel Hill and London: University of North Carolina Press.

Fisher, A.K. 1893. The hawks and owls of the United States in their relation to agriculture. Washington U.S. Dept. of Agriculture Bull. no. 6. 210 pp.

California Department of Fish and Game. 1990. 1989 annual report on the status of California's state listed threatened and endangered plants and animals. 188 pp.

The Peregrine Fund. 1992. Peregrine falcon recovery program:status and reommendations. Unpublished report.

U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. 1994. Removal of arctic peregrine falcon from the list of endangered and threatened wildlife. Federal Register 59(192):50796-50805. 5 October 1994.

Ratcliffe, D. 1993. The peregrine falcon. Second edition. Academic Press, Inc., San Diego. 454 pp.

Skaggs, R. W., et al. 1988. Peregrine falcon. Pages 127-136 in Glinski et al., eds. Proc. Southwest raptor management symposium and workshop. Natural Wildlife Fed. Science and Tech. Ser. No. 11.

Kaufman K. 1996. Lives of North American Birds. Boston, New York: Houghton Mifflin Company.

Grebence, B. L., and C. M. White. 1989. Physiographic characteristics of peregrine falcon nesting habitat along the Colorado River system in Utah. Great Basin Naturalist 49:408-418.

Olsen, P.D., R.C. Marshall, and A. Gaal. 1989. Relationships within the genus FALCO:a comparison of the electrophoretic patterns of feather proteins. Emu 89:193-203.

Pagel, J. E. 1989. Use of explosives to enhance a peregrine falcon eyrie. J. Raptor Res. 23:176-178.

Chavez-Ramirez, F., G. P. Vose, and A. Tennant. 1994. Spring and fall migration of peregrine falcons from Padre Island, Texas. Wilson Bull. 106:138-145.

Hickey, J.J. ND. Natural History of the Peregrine Falcon East of the Rockies. Unpublished Manuscript. 178 p.

Parrish, J.R., D.T. Rogers, Jr., and F.P. Ward. 1983. Identification of natal locales of peregrine falcons (FALCO PEREGRINUS) by trace-element analysis of feathers. Auk 100:560-567.

Baker, J.A. 1967. The peregine. 191 pp.

Holroyd, G. L., and U. Banasch. 1990. The reintroduction of the peregrine falcon, Falco peregrinus anatum, into southern Canada. Canadian Field-Naturalist 104:203-208.

Berger, D.D., C.R. Sindelar, Jr. and K.E. Gamble. 1969. The Status Of Breeding Peregrines in the Eastern United States. pp.165-173. In J.J. Hickey (ed). Peregrine Falcon Populations, Their Biology and Decline. Univ Wisconsin Press, Madison. 596 pp.

Hickey, J.J. 1969. Peregrine falcon populations:their biology and decline. Univ. Wisconsin Press, Madison, WI. 596 pp.

Murphy, J. E. 1990. The 1985-1986 Canadian peregrine falcon, FALCO PEREGRINUS, survey. Canadian Field-Naturalist 104:182-192.

McNutt, J. W. 1984. A peregrine falcon polymorph:observations of the reproductive behavior of FALCO KREYENBORGI. Condor 86:378-382.

Harrison, C. 1978. A field guide to the nests, eggs and nestlings of North American birds. Collins, Cleveland, Ohio.

Bollengier, R.M., JR. (Team Leader). 1979. Eastern Peregrine Falcon Recovery Plan. U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. 147 pp.

Harris, J. 1979. The peregrine falcon in Greenland:observing an endangered species. Univ. Missouri Press. 255 pp.

King, Warren B., compiler. 1979. Endangered birds of the world. The International Council for Bird Preservation. Smithsonian Institution Press, Washington, D.C. [Reprinted in handbook form in 1981.].

Ratcliffe, D. 1980. The Peregrine Falcon. Buteo Books, Vermillion, South Dakota. 416 pp.

Terres, J.K. 1980. The Audubon Society encyclopedia of North American birds. Alfred A. Knopf, New York.

Cade, T.J. 1982. The falcons of the world. Cornell University Press, Ithaca, NY. 192 pp.

Evans, D. L. 1982. Status reports on twelve raptors. U.S. Department of the Interior, Fish and Wildlife Service, Special Scientific Report No. 238. 68 pp.

Sherrod, S. K., et al. 1982. Hacking:a method for releasing peregrine falcons and other birds of prey. Secondedition. The Peregrine Fund, Cornell Univ., Ithaca, New York. vi + 61 pp.

American Ornithologists' Union (AOU), Committee on Classification and Nomenclature. 1983. Check-list of North American Birds. Sixth Edition. American Ornithologists' Union, Allen Press, Inc., Lawrence, Kansas.

National Geographic Society (NGS). 1983. Field guide to the birds of North America. National Geographic Society, Washington, D.C.

Raffaele, H.A. 1983. A guide to the birds of Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands. Fondo Educativo Interamericano, San Juan, Puerto Rico. 255 pp.

Sherrod, S. K. 1983. Behavior of fledgling peregrines. Pioneer Impressions, Fort Collins, Colorado (available from The Peregrine Fund, Inc., Ithaca, New York. xi + 202 pp.

Pendleton, B. A. Giron, et al. 1987. Raptor management techniques manual. National Wildlife Federation, Sci. and Tech. Ser. No. 10. 420 pp.

Porter, R. D., M. A. Jenkins, and A. L. Gaski. 1987. Working bibliography of the peregrine falcon. National Wildlife Federation, Science and Tech. Ser. No. 9. 185 pp.

Cade, T. J., et al., eds. 1988. Peregrine falcon populations:their management and recovery. The Peregrine Fund, Inc., Boise, Idaho. 949 pp.

Palmer, R. S., ed. 1988. Handbook of North American birds. Vol. 5. Yale Univ. Press, New Haven. 465 pp.

Byrd, M.A., and D.W. Johnston. 1991. Birds. Pages 477-537 in K. Terwilliger, coordinator. Virginia's endangered species:proceedings of a symposium. McDonald and Woodward Publ. Co., Blacksburg, Virginia.

Johnson, S.R., and D.R. Herter. 1989. The birds of the Beaufort Sea. BP Exploration (Alaska) Inc., Anchorage, Alaska. 372 pp.

U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. 1991. Request for information on the Arctic and American peregrine falcons. Federal Register 56(113):26969-26971.

Campbell, R. W., N. K. Dawe, I. McTaggart-Cowan, J. M. Cooper, G. W. Kaiser and M. C. McNall. 1990. The birds of British Columbia, Vols. 1 and 2:Non passerines. Royal British Columbia Museum, Victoria, B. C. 518 and 636 pp.

U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS). 1990. Endangered and threatened species recovery program:report to Congress. 406 pp.

Johnsgard, P.A. 1990. Hawks, eagles, and falcons of North America. Smithsonian Inst. Press, Washington, D.C. xvi + 403 pp.

Matthews, J. R., and C. J. Moseley (editors). 1990. The Official World Wildlife Fund Guide to Endangered Species of North America. Volume 1. Plants, Mammals. xxiii + pp 1-560 + 33 pp. appendix + 6 pp. glossary + 16 pp. index. Volume 2. Birds, Reptiles, Amphibians.

Steidl, R. J., et al. 1991. Reproductive success and eggshell thinning of a reestablished peregrine falcon population. J. Wildlife Management 55:294-299.

Brown, B. T., et al. 1992. Density of nesting peregrine falcons in Grand Canyon National Park, Arizona. Southwestern Naturalist 37:188-193.

10 March 2005
This data was compiled and/or developed by the North Carolina GAP Analysis Project.

For more information please contact them at:
NC-GAP Analysis Project
Dept. of Zoology, NCSU
Campus Box 7617
Raleigh, NC 27695-7617
(919) 513-2853