WHAT IS THE WORLD'S FASTEST BIRD?
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For pure, unadulterated speed, nothing can touch the peregrine falcon. Whe it is in a hunting dive, it is the worlds fastest bird and by considerable margin. In fact, it is the fastest animal on Earth!
So far, no bird known can match the flying speed of a peregrine falcon while it is in its hunting dive. As it executes this specialist dive, the peregrine falcon begins by soaring to a great height, after which it dives steeply at speeds of over 300 kilometers (200 miles) per hour!
While the peregrine falcon’s diving speed is truly amazing, it isn't even able to make the top 10 when traveling in a level flight. For that record, studies have clocked the spine-tailed swift, at over 160 kilometers (100 miles) per hour.
The Peregrine Falcon - Falco peregrinus, is a widespread bird of prey in the family Falconidae. A large, crow-sized falcon, it has a blue-gray back, barred white underparts, and a black head and 'moustache'.
Typical of bird-eating raptors, Peregrine Falcons are sexually dimorphic, in this case the females are considerably larger than males making it one of the few vertebrate animal species with larger females.
The Peregrine's breeding range includes land regions from the Arctic tundra to the tropics. It can be found nearly everywhere on Earth, except extreme polar regions, very high mountains, and most tropical rainforests. The only major ice-free landmass from which it is entirely absent is New Zealand, making it the world's most widespread bird of prey.
While its diet consists almost exclusively of medium-sized birds, the Peregrine falcon will occasionally hunt small mammals, small reptiles, or even insects. Reaching sexual maturity at one year, it mates for life and nests in a scrape, normally on cliff edges or - in more recent times - on tall human-made structures.
The Peregrine Falcon became an endangered species in many areas because of pesticides, especially DDT. Since the ban on DDT from the early 1970s, populations have recovered, supported by large-scale protection of nesting places and releases to the wild.
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Article based on http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Peregrine_Falcon
Photo care of http://thetodaystuff.blogspot.com/2011/01/peregrine-falcon-wallpapers.html