Common: Prairie Falcon
Scientific: Falco mexicanus
Plumage is warm gray-brown (sometimes called “sandy”) above and pale with more or less dark mottling below. The darkest part of the upper side is the primary wing feathers; the lightest is the rump and tail, particularly the outer tail feathers. The head has a “moustache” mark like a peregrine falcon’s but narrower, and a white line over the eye. A conspicuous character is that the axillars (“wingpits”) and underwing coverts are black, except along the leading edge of the wing. This creates an effect of “struts” from the body along each wing. The Prairie Falcon outwardly resembles the Peregrine Falcon.
Distribution: It breeds from southern Manitoba, Saskatchewan, Alberta and south-central British Columbia south through the western United States–roughly between the eastern edge of the Mountain Time Zone and the Cascade Mountains, as well as the Central Valley of California–to the Mexican states of Baja California, Durango, and northern San Luis Potosí.
Habitat: The natural habitat of the prairie falcon is open country, especially arid, in summer including alpine tundra to shortgrass prairie and high desert. In winter it is more widespread, ranging to low deserts and occasionally to towns.