(Photo © iStock)
The Peregrine Falcon is more commonly found along the coasts of the US, and is mostly absent from the midwest, unlike some similar-looking species.

  • Look for the adult Peregrine Falcon’s large and long-winged shape; thick and dark “sideburns” or “mustache” markings; barred belly, legs, and tail; black hood and dark gray-blue back.
  • Prairie Falcons are found only in open areas of the West, are more brown, have dark “armpits,” and do not hunt ducks, shorebirds, and pigeons as frequently as Peregrine Falcons.
  • Gyrfalcons are larger and much more rare in the continental US than Peregrine Falcons.
  • Merlins are smaller and more compact than Peregrine Falcons, and have a pale eyebrow while lacking the dark hood and mustache. Also, Merlins’ undersides have more dark brown streaks.