Peregrine falcon

Peregrine falcon

©John Hawkins

Juvenile peregrine falcon

©Neil Aldridge

Peregrine falcon in flight

©Bertie Gregory/2020VISION

Peregrine falcon

Scientific name: Falco peregrinus
Like many of our birds of prey, the peregrine falcon was so persecuted, numbers fell dramatically. Thankfully, this super-speedy flyer is now making a comeback, particularly in our towns, where it nests on tall buildings.

Species information


Length: 40-54cm
Wingspan: 1.2m
Weight: 670g-1.1kg
Average lifespan: 6 years

Conservation status

Classified in the UK as Green under the Birds of Conservation Concern 4: the Red List for Birds (2015). Protected in the UK under the Wildlife and Countryside Act, 1981.

When to see

January to December


Until recently, the peregrine falcon was only found in the north and west of the UK. Yet, over the last couple of decades, it has been spreading south. In recent years, it has found some unusual nest sites, including Derby Cathedral and the BT Tower in Birmingham! These tall, city structures replicate the precipitous cliff edges that it would naturally nest on.

How to identify

The peregrine is our biggest falcon; it is dark slate-grey above and white below, with black bars across its chest and belly. It has a white throat and cheeks, and a strong, black moustache and mask.


Nests in North and South West England, Wales and Scotland on coastal cliffs, but is increasingly being seen throughout the country.

Did you know?

Peregrines are among the fastest animals on the planet, reaching speeds of up to 200 miles per hour when 'stooping' - diving down on its prey from a great height. Prey is usually taken mid-air and consists mostly of birds like feral pigeons and collared doves.

How people can help

The Wildlife Trusts work with planners, developers and landowners to help make our towns and cities as good for wildlife as they are for people. By working together, we can create Living Landscapes: networks of habitats stretching across town and country that allow wildlife to move about freely and people to enjoy the benefits of nature. Support this greener vision for the future by joining your local Wildlife Trust.