Wild Birds

Barbary Falcons

The Barbary Falcon (Falco pelegrinoides) is a medium-sized falcon about the size of a crow.

Distribution / Range

This bird of prey breeds in the Canary Islands and on the coasts of North Africa. It is mainly resident.

It is a bird of semi-desert and dry open hills.

Breeding / Nesting:

It typically lays its eggs in cliff ledge nests.


The Barbary Falcon is similar to the Peregrine Falcon, but smaller at 33-39cm in length with a wingspan of 76-98cm. The female is larger than the male. It resembles its relative in general structure.

Adults have paler grey-blue upperparts than the Peregrine, and often have a buff wash to the barred underparts, whereas the larger species have a white background color. The nape (back of the neck) is rufous, but this is difficult to see.

Males and females look alike, apart from size, but the young birds have brown upperparts and streaked underparts. The streaking is lighter than in the juvenile Peregrine.

This species is often erroneously considered to be a subspecies of the slightly larger Peregrine Falcon, Falco peregrinus. Evidence of the differences between Peregrines and Barbaries includes that the Barbary breeds much earlier in the year, that they do not interbreed even though they may occupy tangent territories, and that their flight styles and ranges are considerably different. Other aspects include less blatant differences in plumage. While the untrained eye often sees several species of falcon as the same, an experienced falconer or raptor biologist will recognize the distinctions immediately.


The call is a high-pitched “rek-rek-rek”.

Birds of PreyFalcon InformationThe Sport of Falconry

Gordon Ramel

Gordon is an ecologist with two degrees from Exeter University. He's also a teacher, a poet and the owner of 1,152 books. Oh - and he wrote this website.

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