Family Falcons, Caracaras (Falconidae)

Least Concern

Prairie Falcon (Falco mexicanus)


French: Faucon des prairies German: Präriefalke Spanish: Halcón mexicano

Falco mexicanus


, 1851,

Monterey, Mexico = California, USA


Formerly placed in Gennaia or Hierofalco. Had been thought possibly to belong to the F. rusticolus group (which see), but genetic data indicate closer affiliation to F. peregrinus#R. Has hybridized with F. peregrinus#R. Monotypic.


SW Canada (C British Columbia to S Saskatchewan) S through W & WC USA (E to Arizona and W Texas) to N Mexico; winters to EC USA and NC & NW Mexico.

Descriptive notes

37–47 cm; male 404–650 g, larger female 675–1100 g; wingspan 91–113 cm. A typical rather large falcon, with streaked crown, paler collar, whitish... read more


Usually silent, except during breeding when gives yelping "kik-kik-kik", harsher in... read more


Mainly arid hilly and mountainous grasslands and shrub steppe, including vast desert valleys and... read more

Food and feeding

Primarily mammals, particularly ground squirrels (e.g. Citellus, Spermophilus), and birds, particularly those of open... read more


Sometimes arrives at eyries in Feb, but normally Mar–Jul, depending on altitude and latitude. Solitary. Achieves high denisities in... read more


Variable: disperses widely with general N to S movement from N breeding locations; movements in all... read more

Status and conservation

Not globally threatened (Least Concern). CITES II. Widespread and common within breeding range. Eggshell thinning as result of DDT caused only minor local reductions,... read more

Recommended citation

White, C.M. & Kirwan, G.M. (2019). Prairie Falcon (Falco mexicanus). In: del Hoyo, J., Elliott, A., Sargatal, J., Christie, D.A. & de Juana, E. (eds.). Handbook of the Birds of the World Alive. Lynx Edicions, Barcelona. (retrieved from on 13 December 2019).