Sunday, March 22, 2020

Peregrine Falcon Falco peregrinus (Tunstall 1771)

Peregrine Falcon Falco peregrinus
Other Name: Black-Cheeked Falcon, Duck Falcon, Shaheen Falcon

Status and distribution
Regular in Peninsula Malaysia up to 6000 feet asl in Genting Highland. Resident race from Falco.p.enerstii have been recorded breeding from Perlis south to Perak but occur south to Johore. Breeding up to 3000feet asl. This subspecies could also involve in local migration as well.

Large falcon with dark grey to blackish above and variable pale white to rufousy below with barring and spotting. Migratory race with moustached and resident race with full hood and darker above.

In flight, the wing underwing marked blackish. Pointed wing are distinctive. Immature head patter are rather similar to adult with upperpart dark brown compare to black. Underpart can be heavily streak compare to barred of the adult.

Migratory white cheek: In peninsula Malaysia there is 2 subspecies of white cheek migratory Peregrine namely the F.p.japonicus and  F.p.calidus. Both subspecies show an extend of white cheek with dark moustached where F.p.japonicus show thicker moustached making the cheek look smaller omapre to the latter. On upperpart, both species show greyish darker in F.p.japonicus than in F.p.calidus. Most very pale individual may would have been F.p.calidus. On the underpart, the F.p.japonicus show distinctly broken bar on underpart especially on side of breast on white to pale rusty white body. Remaining part are clearly broken bar. F.p.calidus show more spot where clear spot can already be noted on the side of breast replacing bar of the F.p.jaonicus on white to pinkish white body. In flight both underwing show fine dark bar on pale flight feather with fine barred on wing covert. Juvenile of both subspecies is very similar and can be doubtfully separate in field. Brownish to dark brown above with pale forehead. Throat buff and remaining underpart buff with dark streak. Eye ring and leg yellow, fresh to bluish in juvenile. (Details require further study including some F.p.calidus  at reast show wing extended slightly below wing compare to F.p.japonicus. This at current time I do not have enough individual for confirmation)
Migratory hooded: One subspecies where is rarely encountered which is F.p.peregrinator. Fully hooded and entire upperpart dark with pinkish white throat gradually into rufous on remaining underpart. Barred variant have dark bar on the rufous underpart and somewhat more spaced out compare to F.p.enerstii. Unbarred variant uniform rufous underpart.
Resident: Fully hooded and entire upperpart dark to blackish. Underpart pale grey gradually fate into rufous from mid body downwards. Very dense barring below.
Juvenile of F.p.peregrinator and F.p.enerstii are very similar and can be doubtfully separate in field. Both show fully hooded and dark streak below. Heavier in F.p.enerstii and may show pale rufous in some individual. Mainly white throat suggest to be F.p.peregrinator and barring distance on the under part shall be taken note in separation of this two subspecies.

Confusion Species
Easily confuse with Oriental Hobby which is much smaller. Note on hood shape. At rest, Peregrine falcon tail reach tail tip while Oriental Hobby way pass tail tip.

Geographical Variation
Falco.p. japonensis and Falco.p. calidus both were winter visitor and passage migrant.
Falco.p. enerstii are known resident subspecies. This species have been observed lowland to highland with record from Kinabalu National Park, Frasers Hill, Cameroon Highland.
Falco p. peregrinator was rare subspecies. Many record remain doubtful. Some of the more confirmed recorded were from Fraser’s Hill and another from Genting Highland. Record were during migratory period suggesting this species were mainly migratory. N record of this subspecies in the period of May -September.

Perch on a vantage point to search for food. Majority of prey consist of green pigeon, bulbul, Black Naped Oriole and wader. One observation in Penang, a migratory subspecies attempt to hunt a whimbrel. In Teluk Air Tawar, Penang, it was observed an attempt on a roasting flock of wader. Other such as attempt on a Little Egret was observed as well suggest they make take larger prey item. Element of surprise are used in an observation in Langkawi where as pursuit in many other location.

Majority of the hunting method was observed as soaring hunter where prey were detected in flight. A few in Taiping, was observed as perching hunter. The bird was sighted to on perch taking flight and return within 2 minit time with a prey. The bird was not sighted nearby during the flight however return with yellow vented bulbul.

Hunting have been observed in area such as high rise building, open country and forested area however there is no stopping-hunting have been recorded.
The same record mention by well’s. Perhaps the technique of hunting require further study in Malaysia.

Lime stone, hilly area, lowland to montane forest, mangrove, mudflat, and open area.

Bird seem to be able to leave in area of housing such as the record from Taiping.

Copulation on late December – February. Incubation started in first half of February (Well’s 1999)





Ben F.King & Edwards C.Dickson, 1989, A Field Guide To The Birds of South-East Asia, Collins, Grafton Street, London

Betram E.Smythies 2001, The Birds of Burma, Natural History Publication, Kota Kinabalu (ISBN 983-812-049-9)

Craig Robson, 2017, A Field Guide To The Birds of South-East Asia, Bloomsburry, London

Dick Forsman 1999, The Raptors of Europe and The Middle East, Christopher Helm, London. (ISBN 978-0-7136-8821-4)

Dick Forsman 2016, Flight Identification of Raptors of Europe, North Africa and the Middle East, Christopher Helm, London. (ISBN 978-1-4729-1361-6)

David R Wells, 1999, Birds of The Thai Malay Peninsula Vol 1, Academic Press, London UK

James A. Eaton, Bas van Balen, Nick W. Brickle & Frank E. Rheindt, 2016,  Birds of the Indonesia Archipelago Greater Sundas and Wallacea, Lynx Edicion, Bercelona

James Fergusan Lee and David A Christie 2001, Raptors of The World, Christopher Helm, Great Britian (ISBN 0-618-12762-3)

Pamela C. Rasmussen 2012, Birds of South Asia, Lynx Edicions, Bercolona (ISBN 978-84-96553-85-9)

Rishad Naoroji 2007, Birds of Prey of the Indian Subcontinent, OM Book International, New Delhi (ISBN 8187107699)

Salim Ali & S. Dillon Ripley, 1981,  Handbook of the Birds of India and Pakistan ,Oxford University Press , London

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