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Prairie falcons        Images © Mark A. Chappell

Prairie falcons are mid-sized pale brown falcons that favor desert and grassland country in western North America.   They feed on both birds and mammals and are extremely fast and aggressive.   The stick nest in one of the photos below was on a cliff in the Mojave Desert of California; the adult feeding the young is the male (considerably smaller than females).   Some newly-hatched chicks and eggs were in a nearby nest, in a small cave on a cliff.   The other birds were in the Carrizo Plain in central California; near the San Jacinto Wildlife Area in Riverside County, California, and in southeastern Arizona.   More pictures of these falcons are on another page.
           Prairie falcons are paler, slightly smaller, and a bit slimmer than the other large widely-distributed North American falcon, the peregrine.   Prairies also have a distinctive black 'armpit' (or 'wingpit') when seen in flight; this is visible in several of the images here.   Their eyes also seem to be particularly large and dark.

  • Canon 1D4, 800 mm IS lens, some with 1.4X extender, some with electronic flash (2010, 2011, 2013)
  • Nikon F2, 560 mm f5.6 Leitz Telyt plus 2X converter or 55 mm Micro Nikkor, Kodachrome 64 (1979)