What do falcons eat?

Falcons are birds of prey that primarily feed on other birds and small mammals. Here are the key details about the diet of falcons based on the provided search results:

What Falcons Eat

  • Peregrine Falcons eat mostly other birds. They have been documented to prey on over 450 species of birds in North America and potentially up to 2,000 species worldwide.14 Their typical prey includes shorebirds, ducks, grebes, gulls, pigeons, songbirds, and even large birds like sandhill cranes.
  • Falcons will focus on locally abundant prey. For example, peregrine falcons in urban areas frequently hunt feral pigeons and starlings.2 In coastal regions, they eat seabirds.5
  • In addition to birds, falcons also eat bats, rodents like rats and shrews, insects, lizards, frogs, and snakes.134 However, birds make up the majority of their diet.
  • The specific prey varies based on the falcon species, geographic region, habitat, and season. For instance, merlins mostly eat small birds like house sparrows and shorebirds.3

How Falcons Hunt

  • Peregrine falcons are known for their incredible hunting speed and aerial hunting techniques. They often hunt by diving at speeds over 200 mph to strike their prey in mid-air, a maneuver called a "stoop".25
  • Falcons also hunt by chasing prey in level flight or flushing birds from vegetation with low flights.2 They may hunt from perches, scanning for prey with their keen eyesight.5
  • Some falcons like merlins rely on chasing prey until it tires out before catching it.3
So in summary, falcons are formidable predators that primarily hunt birds and small mammals using a variety of hunting strategies, with their diet varying based on the species, location, and season.12345
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