Prairie Falcon

Falco mexicanus




Caracaras and Falcons (Falconidae)

Code 4


Code 6



Egg Color:

White, heavily marked with brown and purple

Number of Eggs:

4 - 5

Incubation Days:

29 - 31

Egg Incubator:


Nest Location:

On cliff ledge.

Nest Material:

Abandoned nests.





Prairie Falcon: Medium-sized falcon with brown upperparts, dark-spotted pale underparts, and dark brown moustache stripe. Dark underwing-bars are visible in flight. Sexes are similar.

Range and Habitat

Prairie Falcon: This species breeds from southern British Columbia and the Canadian Prairie Provinces south to north-central Mexico and western Texas. It spends winters within its breeding range and sparingly farther east into the Great Plains states. Preferred habitats include barren mountains, dry plains, and prairies.

Breeding and Nesting

Prairie Falcon: Four to five white eggs, heavily marked with brown and purple, are laid in a scrape of loose dirt on a cliff ledge, cave, or crevice, or sometimes in an abandoned nest of another species. Incubation ranges from 29 to 31 days and is carried out mainly by the female.

Foraging and Feeding

Prairie Falcon: Diet consists mainly of birds, which it pursues on the wing but usually captures on or near the ground. Also feeds on small mammals such as prairie dogs and young rabbits.


Prairie Falcon: Generally silent, but will emit a loud "kree-kree-kree" near the nest.

Similar Species

Prairie Falcon: Merlin is much smaller, has a less distinct moustache stripe, more strongly barred tail, and lacks distinctive black mark on underwings. Peregrine Falcon lacks pale stripe behind eye, has thicker moustache stripe, wings that reach tail tip at rest, and lacks black underwing patches.


Belly, undertail coverts, chest, flanks, and foreneck.

Back, rump, hindneck, wings, and crown.
Parts of a Standing bird X
Head Feathers and Markings X
Parts of a Flying bird X