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Peregrine falcon UPSC NOTE

 Peregrine falcon

  • The peregrine falcon also known simply as the peregrine, and historically as the duck hawk in North America, is a cosmopolitan bird of prey (raptor) in the family Falconidae. 

  • A large, crow-sized falcon, it has a blue-grey back, barred white underparts, and a black head

  • The peregrine is renowned for its speed

  • It can reach over 320 km/h (200 mph) during its characteristic hunting stoop (high-speed dive), making it the fastest member of the animal kingdom.

  • As is typical for bird-eating (avivore) raptors, peregrine falcons are sexually dimorphic, with females being considerably larger than males

  • Peregrines are symbols of both successful conservation efforts and sheer adaptability. 

  • By the late 1970s, they were in precipitous decline worldwide, with many local populations going extinct; decimated by overuse of pesticides like DDT that weakened their eggshells

  • Phasing out of DDT and painstaking breeding programmes pulled them back from the brink

  • When populations slowly recovered, a new trend was observed in the 1990s. Peregrines began moving into cities.

  • In India, their numbers went up by 150% in the last two decades, consequent to cities growing taller, astrology fuelled feeding and loss of green spaces. 


Impact of Peregrines

  • Some of the pigeons’ other predators, like the shikra which depends on tree cover, suddenly became less relevant.

  • Pigeons negatively affect local biodiversity by depressing the numbers of birds such as sparrows and mynahs (by sheer numbers and direct competition for food sources), and even food plants (they tend to attack saplings and grains). 

  • Worse still, they carry the threat of disease — there is an increasing trend of hypersensitive pneumonia among people overly exposed to pigeons. 

  • Making the presence of urban peregrines important; at places, pigeons form 80% of their diet.

  • IUCN status : Least Concern 

  • CITES : Appendix I 

  • WPA 1972 : Schedule I (Part III)


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Learnerz IAS | Concept oriented UPSC Classes in Malayalam: Peregrine falcon UPSC NOTE
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