Skip to the content

Gyrfalcon

"Falco rusticolus"

The Gyrfalcon is a transient visitor to Britain with only a few sightings every year. The record for the highest number of sightings dates back to 1909 when 27 were spotted across Britain and Ireland. Gyrfalcons are 

 

GYRFALCON FACTS

Falco rusticolus

  

TERRITORY/LOCATION

The Gyrfalcon thrives in some of the harshest climates on Earth. This denizen of the mountains and high arctic tundra is a circumpolar species, found throughout the region of the North Pole. It nests in the arctic and subarctic regions of North America, Europe, Asia, Greenland, and Iceland.

HABITAT

Gyrfalcons breed on arctic tundra. When they come south for winter, they look for similar habitat: open fields, coastlines, dunes, prairie, and shrubsteppe.

CONSERVATION STATUS

Least Concern

DIET

But it preys on many other bird species, including sage-grouse, jaegers, gulls, terns, fulmars, auks, pheasants, hawks, owls, ravens, and songbirds. It can also hunt mammals as big as hares.

SIZE/WEIGHT

48 - 65 cm long, weigh 805 - 2100 g and have a wingspan from 110 to 160 cm. Females are bulkier and larger than males.

NESTING

It breeds on Arctic coasts and tundra, and the islands of northern North America, Europe, and Asia. It is mainly a resident there also, but some gyrfalcons disperse more widely after the breeding season, or in winter, laying 1-5 eggs.

  

LIFE EXPECTANCY

13 years old average age in the wild

20 years old in captivity

SCIENTIFIC

CLASSIFICATION

KINGDOM

Animalia

PHYLUM

Chordata

CLASS

Aves

ORDER

Falconiformes

FAMILY

Falconidae

GENUS

Falco

SPECIES

F. columbarius

DID YOU KNOW?

The gyrfalcon was originally thought to be a bird of tundra and mountains only; however, in June 2011, it was revealed to spend considerable periods during the winter on sea ice far from land.

The British Bird Of Prey Centre

Got a Question?

Our office is open 9am - 5pm Monday to Friday so if you have any questions or would like to book a flying experience please give us a call or click here to send us an email

Birds of Prey