Peregrine Falcon anatum/tundrius
Scientific Name: Falco peregrinus anatum/tundrius
Taxonomy Group: Birds
COSEWIC Range: Yukon, Northwest Territories, Nunavut, British Columbia, Alberta, Saskatchewan, Manitoba, Ontario, Quebec, New Brunswick, Nova Scotia, Newfoundland and Labrador
COSEWIC Assessment Date and Status Change: November 2017
COSEWIC Status: Not at Risk
COSEWIC Status Criteria:
COSEWIC Reason for Designation: Following dramatic declines in the mid 20th century, this species has rebounded significantly over the past few decades, with continued moderate to strong increases in many parts of Canada since the last status report in 2007. The initial recovery was a result of reintroductions across much of southern Canada following the ban of organochlorine pesticides (e.g., DDT). Increasingly, the ongoing population growth is a function of healthy productivity and, in the case of urban-nesting pairs, exploitation of previously unoccupied habitat. While pollutants continue to be used on the wintering grounds of some individuals, and can be found in tissue samples, they appear to be at levels that are not affecting reproductive success at the population level. The extent to which populations have recovered relative to historical levels is generally unknown, but the consistent strong growth of the overall population suggests that there are currently no significant threats to the species.
COSEWIC History of Status Designation: The Peregrine Falcon in Canada was originally evaluated by COSEWIC as three separate subspecies: anatum subspecies (Endangered in April 1978, Threatened in April 1999 and in May 2000), tundrius subspecies (Threatened in April 1978 and Special Concern in April 1992) and pealei subspecies (Special Concern in April 1978, April 1999 and November 2001). In April 2007, the Peregrine Falcon in Canada was assessed as two separate units: pealei subspecies and anatum/tundrius. Peregrine Falcon anatum/tundrius was designated Special Concern in April 2007. Status re-examined and designated Not at Risk in November 2017.
SARA Status: Schedule 1, Special Concern
Date of Listing (yyyy-mm-dd): 2012-06-20
Please note that this information is provided for general information purposes only. For the most up to date and accurate list of species listed under the Species at Risk Act, please see the Justice Laws Website.
|Peregrine Falcon tundrius subspecies||Non-active||Special Concern|
Of the 19 known subspecies of the Peregrine Falcon, three are found in North America: F. p. anatum, F. p. tundrius and F. p. pealei. As the differences currently noted between the anatum and tundrius subspecies are subtle, they are grouped here as a single unit.
The Peregrine Falcon is a bird of prey the size of a common crow. It has long, pointed wings that allow it to fly at record speeds of up to 300 km/h in a stoop. Adults have a blackish facial stripe under each eye that gives the effect of a long “mustache.” Adults have bluish-gray or darker upperparts and paler underparts that are whitish, greyish, or buffy with brown bars on the sides and legs, and brown spots on the belly. The underside of the wings is white with black streaks. The male and female are mainly distinguished by their size, with females being larger than the males. The immature bird resembles the adult but its face and upperparts are brown. Its facial stripe is black, its tail dark brown with whitish streaks and white tips, and the underparts are buffy with blackish streaks. The three subspecies that nest in Canada are very similar, with slight differences found in the colouring of the plumage and size of the bird. The tundrius subspecies is generally paler and smaller, while the underparts of the anatum subspecies are orange or brownish in color. These two subspecies are smaller and paler than the pealei subspecies.
Distribution and Population
The Peregrine Falcon is a species that breeds on all continents, except Antarctica. It is not found in New Zealand, Iceland and islands of the eastern Pacific Ocean. The subspecies do not have the same distribution. The anatum Peregrine Falcon breeds in the interior of Alaska and throughout northern Canada up to southern Greenland, and across continental North American up to northern Mexico. In Canada it is found in all territories and provinces except Prince Edward Island, Nunavut and the Island of Newfoundland. The tundrius Peregrine Falcon breeds in Alaska and throughout northern Canada up to Greenland. It winters from northern Mexico and as far south as Chile and Argentina. In Canada, it breeds from northern Yukon, the low Arctic islands, northern Northwest Territories and northern Nunavut up to Baffin Island, Hudson Bay, Ungava and northern Labrador. Since 1970, national surveys aimed at determining trends of nesting Peregrine Falcon populations have been carried out every five years in Canada. These surveys reveal that the number of anatum and tundrius Peregrine Falcons has considerably increased since 1970, especially from 2000 to 2005. Populations increased by 43% in occupied sites in southern Ontario and by 107% in southern Quebec, which suggests that Peregrine Falcon populations are almost as abundant as they were before the collapse resulting from the use of organochlorine pesticides. Based on the data gathered, there were at least 969 mature anatum Peregrine Falcons and 199 tundrius Peregrine Falcons. The minimum size of the combined population of these groups was therefore at least 1168 mature individuals. These estimates are certainly lower than the actual numbers, especially for the tundrius subspecies, whose nesting area, which extends over a vast, relatively uninhabited arctic landscape, has not been fully surveyed. This recovery is the result of reintroductions in most of southern Canada and the natural growth in productivity following the ban on organochlorine pesticides in Canada, especially DDT. About 1500 anatum Peregrine Falcons raised in captivity were released in Canada from 1975 to 2001.
The Peregrine Falcon is found in various types of habitats, from Arctic tundra to coastal areas and from prairies to urban centres. It usually nests alone on cliff ledges or crevices, preferably 50 to 200 m in height, but sometimes on the ledges of tall buildings or bridges, always near good foraging areas. Suitable nesting sites are usually dispersed, but can be common locally in some areas. The natural nesting habitat has not changed significantly since the population crash and is still largely available. In addition, structures built by humans in both rural and urban areas provide the Peregrine Falcon with other potential nesting sites. And though urbanization and other land uses have had a significant impact on some areas where they feed, Peregrine Falcons can usually modify their diet based on the prey species present in a given area.
The Peregrine Falcon primarily feeds on birds that it typically catches in flight. Its prey has also been known to include bats, rodents and other mammals. Peregrine Falcons begin breeding during their second year. Adults demonstrate a high degree of breeding site fidelity and are known to reuse the same nest site for decades. Nests are generally scraped in substrate on cliff ledges. Peregrine Falcons usually produce a single clutch of two to five eggs per year. Incubation, which is handled mostly by the female, lasts 32 to 35 days. Nestlings leave the nest after about 40 days and continue to be fed by adults. They remain in the vicinity of the nest site for three to six weeks after fledging. Most then disperse widely, up to hundreds of kilometres from natal areas. Peregrine Falcons have a life expectancy of 4 to 5 years, but some individuals have been known to live up to 20. Even though in some areas young falcons may be preyed on by the red fox, Golden Eagle and Great Horned Owl, predation is not a major threat for the species. The main causes of mortality are collisions with buildings and vehicles among fledglings, or unfavourable climatic conditions (cold, rain) for more northern populations. In the fall, most Peregrine Falcons migrate to the southern United States, Mexico, Central America and South America. However, some couples in coastal and northern areas may remain at the nesting site all winter if there is an abundant supply of food. This is particularly true for anatum Peregrine Falcons that nest in urban areas in Eastern Canada. Its capacity to adapt to and breed in an urban environment has been a key factor in the recovery of North American populations of anatum Peregrine Falcons.
Reproductive failure caused by exposure to organochlorine pesticides, in particular DDT, is the main factor for the historic decline of North American Peregrine Falcon populations. Use of these pesticides causes a thinning and subsequent breaking of the egg shells during incubation. Since organochlorine pesticides were banned in Canada and the United States in the early 1970s and in Mexico in 2000, there has been a decrease in the levels of these pesticides in Peregrine Falcon tissues, which has been associated with the increase in reproductive success over the last few years. However, pesticide levels still exceed critical limits in some individuals, and organochlorine pesticides are still used in some parts of the wintering grounds of the anatum and tundrius subspecies. It was recently shown that new pesticides regularly used in the country, i.e., polybrominated odiphenyl ethers, also represent a potential threat for the species. However, the effects of these chemicals, found in high concentrations in the tissues of some Peregrine Falcons, are unknown. The coastal populations of anatum and tundrius Peregrine Falcons may increase or decrease in keeping with fluctuations in seabird populations that they feed on, as is the case of the pealei subspecies. In some areas, seabirds are threatened by introduced mammalian predators, and the number of falcons may be reduced if their prey decrease in number. Disturbances caused by humans at nesting sites, the potential increase in the number of juvenile falcons legally harvested for falconry purposes, and poaching of eggs and young birds for the same purpose are also considered to be factors that may pose a threat to the species.
Other Protection or Status
The Peregrine Falcon is protected under the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES), which restricts the import and export of birds and eggs in signatory countries.
PLEASE NOTE: Not all COSEWIC reports are currently available on the SARA Public Registry. Most of the reports not yet available are status reports for species assessed by COSEWIC prior to May 2002. Other COSEWIC reports not yet available may include those species assessed as Extinct, Data Deficient or Not at Risk. In the meantime, they are available on request from the COSEWIC Secretariat.
18 record(s) found.
- COSEWIC Status Reports (2 record(s) found.)
- Response Statements (2 record(s) found.)
- Action Plans (5 record(s) found.)
- Management Plans (1 record(s) found.)
- Orders (2 record(s) found.)
- COSEWIC Annual Reports (2 record(s) found.)
- Permits and Related Agreements (1 record(s) found.)
- Consultation Documents (2 record(s) found.)
- Recovery Document Posting Plans (1 record(s) found.)
COSEWIC Status Reports
COSEWIC assessment and status report on the Peregrine Falcon Falco peregrinus (pealei subspecies - Falco peregrinus pealei and anatum/tundrius - Falco peregrinus anatum/tundrius) in Canada (2019-02-08)The Peregrine Falcon is a crow-sized raptor with long, pointed wings. Sexes are best distinguished by size, with females being on average 15-20% longer and 40-50% heavier than males. Adults have bluish-grey or darker upperparts, and pale underparts with variable amounts of dark spotting and barring. Immatures have upperparts that vary from pale to slate or chocolate brown, and underparts that are buffy with blackish streaks. A dark malar stripe extends from the eye across the cheek, and is generally wider on adults. Note: This COSEWIC assessment was received by the Minister on October 15th, 2018.
COSEWIC Annual Reports
COSEWIC Annual Report - 2007 (2007-08-30)2007 Annual Report to the The Minister of the Environment and the Canadian Endangered Species Conservation Council (CESCC) from the Committee on the Status of Endangered Wildlife in Canada.
COSEWIC Annual Report 2017 to 2018 (2018-10-15)Over the past year COSEWIC assessed a total of 90 wildlife species and 11 of these were assigned a status of Not at Risk. Of these 90, COSEWIC re-examined the status of 38 wildlife species; of these, the majority (87%) were reassessed at the same or lower level of risk. To date and with the submission of this report, COSEWIC’s assessments now include 771 wildlife species in various risk categories including 338 Endangered, 183 Threatened, 228 Special Concern, and 22 Extirpated (i.e. no longer found in the wild in Canada). In addition, 18 wildlife species have been assessed as Extinct, and a total of 59 wildlife species have also been designated as Data Deficient and 197 have been assessed and assigned Not at Risk status.