|The Peregrine Falcon is one of the world's best known raptor species. Famed as the fastest land animal on Earth for its tremendous, high speed dive when hunting, the peregrine is a magnificent and highly specialised predator.
Peregrines hunt by searching out prey from a height, soaring on thermals and looking for the weak, the sick, the unfit and the injured among birds up to the size of pigeons, ducks and galahs. In other words, the peregrine weeds out those individuals who are unsuccessful at the art of survival, thus playing a vital part in its ecosystem.
Once its prospective prey has been targeted, the peregrine falcon launches its attack, drawing its long, narrow wings in close to its body and plummetting earthwards, head first, like a skydiver in rapid free fall. In this dive, called a "stoop," the peregrine falcon can reach speeds in excess of 300 kilometres per hour.
At the last possible moment, the peregrine unfurls its wings, tilts its body back to brake, and strikes with its large, powerful feet, using its talons to both disable and secure its prey.
Peregrine falcons occur throughout Australia, and are widespread across all continents except for Antarctica. The Peregrine falcon is uncommon but not endangered in Australia, however it is considered endangered on a global scale and is protected under the international CITES treaty, to which Australia is a signatory.