Peregrine Falcon Shares Its Kill With Another Falcon Mid-Air in Wild Video

by Sean Griffin
Peregrine falcon (Falco peregrinus), Falconidae, Pizzo Arera, Bergamasque Prealps, Lombardy, Italy.(Getty Images Dea/V. Giannella)

In this crazy video posted to Instagram, a peregrine falcon mother swaps its kill with its offspring while still flying. The mother and offspring duo tactfully transfers the kill so the mother can fly off and find more prey. One person in the comment section referred to the insane exchange as “air supply transfer,” and we couldn’t agree more. The move was carried out with uncanny precision.

The video starts off with the camera focused on the mother falcon, gliding through the air with some unidentified bird clutched in its talons. Then, we see the younger falcon swoop in from a lower angle and hover closer to its mother. Then, it reaches its talons up toward its mother, and they successfully complete a transfer of the prey.

Once the younger animal latches on, the mother swoops back and watches from above as the younger falcon dives off to the nest.

Peregrine falcons are historically known as duck hawks in North America. They are large, crow-sized falcons with blue-gray backs and white underparts. They normally have a black head.

Most know the peregrine falcon for its blazing speed, reaching up to 200 mph during its characteristic hunting swoop. This high-speed dive makes it the fastest member of the animal kingdom.

Peregrine Falcon’s Top Speeds

According to a National Geographic TV program, the highest measured speed of a peregrine falcon is 389 km/h (242 mph). As is typical for bird-eating raptors, the females are considerably larger than males.

The peregrine’s breeding range includes land regions from the Arctic tundra to the tropics. It can be found nearly everywhere on Earth. The few places these falcons won’t live are extreme polar regions, very high mountains, and most tropical rainforests.

The only major ice-free landmass from which the falcon is entirely absent remains New Zealand.

This makes it the world’s most widespread raptor. It’s also one of the most widely found bird species. In fact, the only land-based bird species found over a larger geographic area is the rock pigeon. However, it isn’t always naturally occurring in many of its environments. It was widely introduced by humans in some areas. Now, rock pigeons support many peregrine populations as a prey species.

The peregrine remains a highly successful example of urban wildlife in much of its range. It uses tall buildings as nest sites and feasts on an abundance of prey such as pigeons and ducks. Both the English and scientific names of this species mean “wandering falcon.” This refers to the migratory habits of many northern populations. Experts recognize 17 to 19 subspecies.

The peregrine falcon has also been used as a religious, cultural, and national symbol across different civilizations in human history.