- Falco rusticolus
also known as: Iceland Falcon & Greenland Falcon
This, the largest of all the falcons is very rarely seen due it's prefered habitat.
Possibly due to its large area that it inhabits, and the different cover that it can find, the Gyr falcon has many different forms, this is why it was given many names, as the individuals appeared to different.
The plumage of the bird ranges from white to grey, with black spots being common among all variations. The lighter forms are found in the northernmost areas, darkening the further south it lives.
The Gyr falcon inhabits arctic and sub-arctic zones almost exlusively, and only moves south during the winter. During thise time it may migrate as far south as the United States/Canadian border, or the northern borders of France.
The diet of the Gyr Falcon mainly consists of large birds, which it takes down in flight. The Gyr falcon does not dive for its food however, but instead takes the prey during level flight, overtaking it. Because of this, it is believed that the Gyr falcon may actually be faster than the Peregrine Falcon, which many people credit with being the fastest flyer.
Due to the artic environment, The breeding season commences in Late April-Early May and is initiated like most falcon's, with birds stooping at each other and then entwining talons, soon after approximately 3-5 eggs are laid, often in the abandoned nests of Ravens and Buzzards.
The incubation period is 28-30days, with the male providing food and protection for the female while she warms the eggs.
The young are then taught and fed by their mother, with the male providing only food and no tuition.