peregrine falcon defined in 1930 yearperegrine falcon - Peregrine Falcon;
peregrine falcon - Upper parts dark bluish grey, with darker bands; head bluish black, as are also the moustaches descending from the gape; under parts white; breast transversely barred with brown; beak blue, darker at the point; cere yellow; iris dark brown; feet yellow; claws black. Female: upper plumage tinged with brown, the under parts with reddish yellow. Length, fifteen inches; female, seventeen inches.
This famed bird is of a handsome appearance, not swallow-like as is the kite, nor so massive as the eagle; but nature in fashioning it has observed the golden mean, and the result is a being so well- balanced in all its parts and so admirably adapted for speed, strength, and endurance, that to many minds it has seemed the most perfect among winged creatures. When standing perched on a crag, erect and motionless, as its custom is, its smooth and compact figure looks as if carved out of a stone or marble of a beautiful soft grey tint. The wings are sharp-pointed, and the flight is exceedingly rapid. In South America, where I first observed its habits, it used always to seem to me that the peregrine, alone among hawks, possessed a courage commensurate with its strength; and, in hunting, an infallible judgment. However swift of wing its quarry might be, it was almost invariably overtaken and struck to the earth; and the bird thus vanquished was in many cases the equal, and sometimes even the superior, in weight to the falcon. All other hawks make frequent mistakes, and often fail in their efforts: they chase birds they cannot overtake, and attack others that are too strong for them; and occasionally their courage fails, and they pass by the healthy and strong to attack the wounded or weak that are incapable of making an effort.
In the British Islands the peregrine is an inhabitant of the iron-bound coasts, where it is still able to find comparatively safe breeding-sites. It makes no nest, the eggs being deposited in a slight hollow scratched in the soil on a ledge of a cliff. When it breeds in a tree it makes use of the deserted nest of some other bird. Two to four eggs are laid, yellowish white in ground-colour, mottled and spotted with reddish brown and orange-brown.
The peregrine preys almost exclusively on birds - ducks, waders, pigeons, grouse, partridges - and it has been seen to kill kestrels, jays, and magpies.
It has a sharp, powerful cry, uttered two or three times in rapid succession on the wing.
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