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Falcons and Caracaras: Falconidae

Physical Characteristics, Behavior And Reproduction, Falcons, Caracaras, And People, Crested Caracara (polyborus Plancus): Species AccountsGEOGRAPHIC RANGE, HABITAT, DIET, CONSERVATION STATUS

CRESTED CARACARA (Polyborus plancus): SPECIES ACCOUNTS
GYRFALCON (Falco rusticolis): SPECIES ACCOUNTS
PEREGRINE FALCON (Falco peregrinus): SPECIES ACCOUNTS

Falcons and caracaras live on every continent except Antarctica. They also live on many ocean islands.


Birds in the falcon family live in almost every kind of land habitat. Many of the falcons that live in northern areas migrate to places where there is a better supply of food in winter.


Falcons are carnivores (meat-eaters), and all but the caracaras feed on live animals. Some hunt other birds in the air and others grab animals on the ground. Kestrels hover above the ground, and many other falcons swoop down from perches. Although some falcons occasionally hunt in pairs, most of them hunt alone. They eat mostly birds, mammals, reptiles, and insects, and caracaras also eat carrion, including dead fish.

Many falcons have been harmed by habitat loss, poisons, and people who do not like birds of prey. No species in the falcon family are listed as Endangered, but four of them are considered Vulnerable, facing a high risk of extinction. Six other species are listed as Near Threatened, close to becoming threatened, and could be heading for serious trouble.

Additional topics

Animal Life ResourceBirds