Peregrine Falcon Falco peregrinus
Characteristics in Captivity
Peregrines are often sweet natured birds once they settle in. However, they can be tail breakers, so if you have one that jumps around, a tail sheath is a must. Females can be especially aggressive when they feel you are about to eat them, but even the mature adults usually settle down fairly quickly.
Bumble foot is a major problem with this species in captivity. They are falcons, and as such will eat themselves into obesity very happily. This places extra pressure on their feet, and they can easily develop sores that go on to swell and get infected. Treating this complaint is very labour intensive and intrusive, so keep a constant check on their feet, and repair perches at the first sign of redness or abrasions. Your observational skills are needed to see what, exactly, they are doing on a regular basis that is traumatising the feet. You can then try to modify the enclosure / situation so the bird is not likely to do that any more.
Exclusive bird hunters, Peregrines can't go back out there with any flying handicap at all. One of the North American sub-species was recorded by sky diving computer stooping (diving) at just under 400 kilometres per hour. Any stiffness or weakness in wing muscles and tendons could be disaster. At such speeds, fine movements are needed in steering, and any accidental big movements could rip tendons, break bones or make the bird fly into something. (Try sticking your arm out the window of the car, holding a stiff flight feather, going at 100km/h- how easy is it for you to change the feather's angle to the wind by only a tiny fraction, and what happens if you turn it too much?!)
Unlike other Peregrine sub-species of the world, our macropus tends to hunt through open woodland more readily, and use less of a pitch (height) when stooping. Food includes cockatoos, pigeons, crows, magpies and ducks.
Captive diet can be any of the richer foods. Day old chicks and rabbit bits can be used to stretch other foods, but they really need 'higher octane' fuel. Pigeon and quail are ideal, but mouse is fine.
Female : 790 - 1100g. Male : 538 - 675g.