Prairie Falcon

Range Map
Falco mexicanus

This medium-sized raptor is very popular for falconry. In the wild they choose dry, barren, desert-like habitats in which to live. Therefore, it has had to adopt a wide array of prey items to sustain itself. In their breeding range, they seek similar habitats near high steep cliffs. They often share these cliffs or high bluffs where they nest with Golden Eagles or Red-Tailed Hawks.

They primarily prey on ground squirrels, small birds such as Horned Larks. lizards, shorebirds, and small rodents. They take most of their prey on or near the ground. Typically they surprise their victims with a stoop or a long glide after spotting them from a perch, a soaring flight, or while patrolling in a low elevation flight.

Prairie Falcons range from South-Western Canada, though the western USA south through northern Mexico. I photographed this bird in southern Idaho at the Snake River Birds of Prey NCA in 2015. I’ve seen them in other locations, but the Idaho birds were the only ones I got pictures of.

Modern science considers the Prairie Falcon as monotypic (i.e. no subspecies).

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