In Arizona, there are five distinct falcon species. We’ll examine these magnificent birds in this essay, learn a few facts about them, and discuss where and when you may see them.
Arizona is situated near the Mexican border in the southwest. The state has a total area of almost 114,000 square miles and is relatively small. Arizona is located in the migratory path of many different species of birds, and is positioned just north of Mexico. Thus, in Arizona, there would be numerous distinct falcon species.
Falcons are birds of prey that differ from eagles, kites, and hawks in a number of ways. They are members of the Falconidae family. Despite the fact that they’re all falconiformes, Falcons kill their prey using their beaks rather than their talons, unlike these other raptors.
In the United States, there are over 60 species of falcons, with five of them residing in Arizona.
5 SPECIES OF FALCONS IN ARIZONA
The American Kestrel, Merlin, Peregrine Falcon, Prairie Falcon, Crested Caracara, and Aplomado Falcon are the five falcon species found in Arizona.
That said, here is a list of the Arizona Falcons!
1. AMERICAN KESTREL
Length: 8.7-12.2 in
Weight: 2.8-5.8 oz
Wingspan: 20.1-24.0 in
Despite its tiny size, the American Kestrel is a falcon to be reckoned with. Kestrels, like Northern Flickers, are formidable predators that may consume other birds as big or bigger than themselves. Insects and invertebrates are the primary sources of food, but they will also snack on small mammals and birds. Kestrels may be seen all year in Arizona, but some may move north to breed if they live farther south.
Males with their blue wings and brown markings are particularly beautiful, as are these tiny falcons with little heads and beaks. These birds are really attractive, with black vertical stripes on their heads in both sexes. When they’re driving, be on the lookout for them on fence posts and telephone wires throughout the summer, especially in rural or country settings.
Length: 9.4-11.8 in
Weight: 5.6-8.5 oz
Wingspan: 20.9-26.8 in
In Arizona, there are several tiny falcons called merlins. During the winter and non-breeding season, they may be found across the state, but each year, they migrate north to Canada to breed. They are notable for hunting in pairs, which enables them to be very successful hunters, and their principal food source is other birds. The females are larger than the males, like kestrels, and merlins are somewhat bigger than kestrels.
Merlins, which may be found in every part of North America, are very common raptors. Their population was declining in the early twentieth century, but they have since rebounded and are now considered a low concern. Since Merlins are prone to chasing little birds, finding one is challenging. They’re perched high in the treetops, pondering their next meal, when they’re not flying. In open grasslands, keep an eye out near forest borders and on low perches.
3. PEREGRINE FALCON
Length: 14.2-19.3 in
Weight: 18.7-56.4 oz
Wingspan: 39.4-43.3 in
In most of Arizona, Peregrine Falcons have a year-round range. In the United States, the majority of Peregrines are found. Each year, they migrate to Canada’s northernmost regions, even Greenland, to breed. Due to pesticides, their population was almost wiped out at one point in the mid-twentieth century, but they have since rebounded and can now be found in the wild.
When peregrines dive for prey, they reach speeds of well over 200 mph, making them not only the fastest bird but also the fastest animal on Earth. Up to 240 mph is mentioned in certain publications. The Great Smoky Mountains, Yellowstone, Acadia, Rocky Mountain, and Zion are just a few of the National Parks where they may be found. Peregrine Falcons are now established in the United States, with an estimated population of 23,000.
4. PRAIRIE FALCON
Length: 14.6-18.5 in
Weight: 14.8-38.8 oz
Wingspan: 35.4-44.5 in
Prairie Falcons prefer wide open areas, such as grasslands and fields, where they soar high overhead for their next meal, which is usually small mammals or other birds. Arizona and the western United States are home to these creatures.
Prairie Falcons are a common falconry and hunting bird, much like Peregrines. Look for them perched along fence posts or on cliffs, or soaring overhead with a pair of binoculars. Because of their brown hues, they can be difficult to see at times. A Merlin is bigger than a Prairie Falcon, yet a Peregrine Falcon is somewhat smaller.
5. CRESTED CARACARA
Length: 19.3-22.8 in
Weight: 37.0-45.9 oz
Wingspan: 48.0-49.2 in
In Arizona, the Crested Caracara stands out from the rest of the falcon species. They’re most prevalent in Central America, although they’ve got a few isolated outcrops in the Southern United States. These are most prevalent in the state of Arizona’s far southern reaches, south of Tucson.
With their huge, pointed talons and orange faces, Crested Caracaras resemble a mix of a hawk and a vulture. They are somewhat bigger than Peregrine Falcons in size.
Omnivores, Crested Caracaras are thought to consume mostly carrion. They are often seen perched high up on tree branches, although they may also be seen on the ground and be found devouring roadkill and other dead creatures. This would also explain their vulture-like visage.
The data contained in this page has been verified against recent range maps supplied by The Cornell Lab of Ornithology, and to the best of our knowledge, is correct.