Avifauna of Crete


Peregrine Falcon
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The Peregrine Falcon (scient Falco peregrinus), also known as the peregrine, and historically as the "Duck Hawk" in North America is one of the fastest birds in the world and the most powerful falcon in Greece. In Crete you will meet that mostly in wild and rocky areas, away from humans. The Peregrine has a wingspan of 90-115cm and a body length of 35-50cm. When crouching it is distinguished from a black stripe on the side of the head (like a mustache), while in flight it can be recognized from the pointed wings and the short tail, narrowing at the tip.

The adult falcon has a blue-gray color and horizontal stripes on the chest. All parts of its body are covered with yellow feathers (legs, eyes) and the tail has uniform color.

The Peregrine often flies in a straight line, reaching great speeds that can reach 400 km/hour. It hunts small and medium-sized birds, mainly in open land areas, with ambush.

The existence of peregrine in a region is an indicator a healthy local ecosystem, because the birds are particularly sensitive to pesticides that accumulate in their bodies. Indeed, the excessive use of insecticides (eg DDT) in the past resulted in the reduction or even extinction of local populations in Crete. Fortunatelly, their condition has improved in the recent years.

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