Today we introduce another bird family that has been wonderfully created by God. The Falcon is in the Family “Falconidae” which are birds of prey. Worldwide there are over 60 species in the family. Falcons, Caracara, Forest-Falcons, Kestrels, Falconets, Pygmy-Falcons, and Hobbies make up the family. For an interesting list of the birds and videos of them, see Internet Bird Collection. These are the birds seen in North America according to Thayer’s Birding software:
Aplomado Falcon (15-16.5” with 40-48” wingspan) Mexico to Central and South America, TX
Gyrfalcon (20-25” with 50-64” wingspan – largest of the falcons) – Arctic tundra-winter seen in upper Midwest, Dakotas, Montana, Idaho and Washington – Flies close to the ground.
Peregrine Falcon (16-20” with 36-44” wingspan – large falcon)
Prairie Falcon (15.5-19.5” with 35-43” wingspan)
Merlin (12” with 25” wingspan)
Collared Forest-Falcon (21-25” with 30-37” wingspan) (Accidental-South Texas)
American Kestrel (10.5” with 23” wingspan – Smallest falcon)
Eurasian Kestrel (13.5”with 29” wingspan Hovers) – Mass, NJ, N Brunswick and Aleutian Islands of Alaska
Crested Caracara (23” with 50” wingspan) – TX and FL, Prairie region of central FL, open arid and semiarid scrublands, grassland w/ few trees, ranchland
Eurasian Hobby (11-13” with 28-33” wingspan) – Europe and Asia, Africa (winters) very rare in North America Captures prey in the air.
A good article about the Falconidae Family is at the Handbook of the Birds of the World website. The Wikipedia had these comments:
“Falcons and caracaras are carnivores, feeding on birds, small mammals, reptiles, insects and carrion.”,
“They have strongly hooked bills, sharply curved talons and excellent eyesight. The plumage is usually composed of browns, whites, chestnut, black and grey, often with barring of patterning. ”
“They differ from other Falconiformes (Hawks, Eagles, Falcons, etc.) in killing with their beaks instead of their feet. They have a “tooth” on the side of their beak for the purpose.”
The Falcon is another bird on the “unclean” list.
“And these you shall regard as an abomination among the birds; they shall not be eaten, they are an abomination: the eagle, the vulture, the buzzard, the kite, and the falcon after its kind;” (Leviticus 11:13-14 NKJV)
“the red kite, the falcon, and the kite after their kinds;” (Deuteronomy 14:13 NKJV)
“You shall fall upon the mountains of Israel, you and all your troops and the peoples who are with you; I will give you to birds of prey of every sort and to the beasts of the field to be devoured. (Ezekiel 39:4 NKJV)
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