This large falcon of the western steppes is warm brown overall. The face shows a thin mustache mark and a small pale area surrounding the large dark eye. The eye-ring and cere are yellow. The underparts are whitish with dark spots. Juveniles are darker brown above and buffier below, with gray eye-ring and cere. In flight, Prairie Falcons are instantly recognized by the black axillaries (wingpits) that contrast with the pale undersides of the wings.
Length: 37 (cm) Wingspan: 90 (cm)
A hoarse kree-kree-kree-kree-kree-kree-kree.
Steppe, grasslands, rimrock, agricultural fields, alpine tundra.
Wingbeats generally shallower than other falcons. Often perches low or on the ground.
Hunts medium-sized birds in the air. Ground squirrels are important prey during breeding season.
The Prairie Falcon is in reality a two-toned raptor, at least when perched, when it looks darker above and paler below. The color of the upperparts might be better described as cold gray-brown. The capsule description, however, aptly describes the less plunging wingbeat of Prairie Falcon vs. other larger falcons. As is true with Peregrine Falcon, there is a subtle-but-learnable difference in the wingstroke, and in wing and body shape, between males and females. This is hard to grasp on individual birds seen by the less experienced birder but, given a pair around a nest site, it can be readily perceived.
Citation: Personal Experience. I observe this regularly, highly confident.
Expanded Life History
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|04/15/17||Dan Mitchell, OR||1|
|05/20/10||Chelsea Bassanese, BC||#|
|06/29/13||Dave Irons, OR||#|
|02/16/13||Dave Irons, OR||#|
|05/28/12||Dave Irons, OR||1|
|02/03/12||Dave Irons, OR||1|
|01/22/12||Dave Irons, OR||1|
|12/26/11||Joe Blowers, OR||#|
|04/08/11||Christopher Hinkle, OR||2|
|Activity||Date & Time|
|Dan Mitchell added Prairie Falcon to their Chiloquin, Oregon smart list||5/08/2017 at 5:29AM|
|David Fix added a note to Prairie Falcon Notes||8/10/2011 at 6:24PM|