Peregrine falcons prey almost exclusively on birds, which make up 77 to 99% of prey items. The most important set of prey, by biomass, is Columbidae. Birds eaten include mourning doves, pigeons, shorebirds, waterfowl, ptarmigan, grouse, and relatives, and smaller songbirds. They will also eat small reptiles and mammals. Most frequent mammal prey are bats (Tadarida, Eptesicus, Myotis, Pipistrellus), followed by arvicoline rodents (Arvicolinae), squirrels (Sciuridae), and rats (Rattus).
Peregrine falcons most frequently hunt from a perch with a high vantage point, such as a cliff or tall tree. They take flight once prey have been detected. They may also fly or hover to search for prey. In some areas, where they may have to rely on insects, lizards, or mammals for prey, peregrine falcons hunt on foot on the ground.
Peregrine falcons are most successful in capturing prey if they have more height from which to initiate a stoop onto a prey animal. Although peregrine falcons capture their prey with their talons, they generally kill with their beak by severing the cervical vertebrae. Prey are then typically carried to an eating perch, where they are plucked and consumed, or cached for later use. Small prey (such as bats) may be eaten in flight.
Animal Foods: birds; mammals; amphibians; reptiles; fish; insects
Foraging Behavior: stores or caches food
Primary Diet: carnivore (Eats terrestrial vertebrates)