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BC Conservation Data Centre: Conservation Status Report

Falco peregrinus pealei
Peregrine Falcon, pealei subspecies

Scientific Name: Falco peregrinus pealei
English Name: Peregrine Falcon, pealei subspecies
Provincial Status Summary
Status: S3S4
Date Status Assigned: May 15, 2019
Date Last Reviewed: April 30, 2019
Reasons: Peregrine Falcon, pealei is uncommon but well distributed and stable along the outer British Columbia coast. Threats include toxins, severe weather due to climate change and oil spills and other pollution that may affect their prey, as well as other natural system modifications that could result in seabird declines (COSEWIC 2017b).
Range Extent: F = 20,000-200,000 square km
Range Extent Comments: Peregrine Falcon, pealei subspecies is restricted to coastal areas of the Pacific northwest from Washington State to Alaska (White et al. 2002). Within British Columbia, it is found from northern and western Vancouver Island to the Alaska panhandle. The population is centered on Haida Gwaii, which contains over 70% of the Canadian population (Schultze 2000; COSEWIC 2017b). The calculated Extent of Occurrence (range) is 147,000 km2, as measured by a minimum convex polygon (COSEWIC 2017b).
Area of Occupancy (km2): F = 126-500
Area of Occupancy Estimate (km2): 191
Area of Occupancy Comments: Based on CDC mapped occurrences as of January 2019, the area of occupancy is 764 km2 (191 2km x 2km grid cells).
Occurrences & Population
Number of Occurrences: D = 81 - 300
Comments: ?In British Columbia in 2015, 119 occupied territories of pealei subspecies were found on Haida Gwaii, northern Vancouver Island, other offshore islands, and the adjacent mainland.? (COSEWIC 2017b). Currently (January 2019), the BC Conservation Data Centre has 171 occurrences mapped; note that not all locations may be occupied in a given year (L. Gelling, pers. comm. 2019).
Number of Occurrences with Good Viability / Ecological Integrity: Rank Factor not assessed
Comments: Most of the active aeries would be considered to have good viability.
Number of Occurrences Appropriately Protected & Managed: E = >40
Comments: Most aeries and seabird colonies (prey) are protected in ecological reserves and provincial and national parks.
Population Size: C = 250 - 1,000 individuals
Comments: The current population is estimated to be 250-1000 mature individuals (COSEWIC 2017b).
Threats (to population, occurrences, or area affected)
Degree of Threat: BD = High - low
Comments: From COSEWIC (2017b): Threats were assessed by an expert panel in 2015, resulting in a score of High-Low. ?The Peregrine Falcon remains potentially vulnerable to threats including toxic chemicals, heavy metal contamination, and severe weather effects associated with climate change.? ?Given its reliance on seabird populations, the pealei subspecies remains vulnerable to oil spills and other pollution that may affect their prey, as well as other natural system modifications that could result in seabird declines.?
Trend (in population, range, area occupied, and/or condition of occurrences)
Short-Term Trend: G = Relatively Stable (<=10% change)
Comments: ?The Canadian pealei Peregrine Falcon nesting population is presently considered to be stable to slightly increasing, with the recent total of 119 occupied nests documented in 2015 being a record high, although the trend may in part reflect increasing survey effort over time.? (COSEWIC 2017b).
Long-Term Trend: FH = Decline of <30% to increase of 25%
Comments: ?Although the historical population size was not well documented, given the remoteness of most nest sites, there was an evident dramatic decline in Peregrine Falcon numbers in the middle of the 20th century because of widespread contamination by DDT (dichlorodiphenyltrichloroethane), which resulted in impaired reproduction through thinning of eggshells. The pealei Peregrine Falcon population has been gradually increasing over the past several decades at an estimated rate of almost +2% per year.? COSEWIC 2017b).
Other Factors
Intrinsic Vulnerability: B=Moderately vulnerable
Comments: Intrinsic vulnerability is considered moderate because of low productivity and small population. This species is usually resident, although some birds do migrate, so is not exposed to environmental contamination suffered by Peregrines that migrate to Central America. It is vulnerable, however, to changes in its seabird prey base.
Environmental Specificity: A=Very narrow. Specialist or community with key requirements scarce.
Comments: Peregrine Falcon, pealei subspecies is a specialist species that relies on an abundant seabird prey base.
Other Rank Considerations:
Information Gaps
Research Needs:
Inventory Needs:
Author: Gelling, L.and L. Ramsay
Date: February 04, 2019
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Burger, A.E. 1992. The effects of oil pollution on seabirds off the west coast of Vancouver Island. Pages 120-128 in K.Vermeer, R.W. Butler, and K.H. Morgan, eds. The ecology, status, and conservation of marine and shoreline birds on the west coast of Vancouver Island. Can. Wildl. Serv. Occ. Pap. No. 75.
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Cooper, J.M., and S.M. Beauchesne. 2003b. Status of the Peregrine Falcon in British Columbia. Rep. prepared for the Terrestrial Ecosystem Sci. Sect., B.C. Minist. Water, Land and Air Prot., Victoria. 15 March 2003.
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Kirk, D.A., and R.W. Nelson. 1999c. COSEWIC status report on Peale's Peregrine Falcon, Falco peregrinus pealei. Comm. on the Status of Endangered Wildl. in Can.18+viii pp.
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White, C.M., N.J. Clum, T.J. Cade and W.G. Hunt. 2002. Peregrine Falcon (Falco peregrinus), ver. 2.0. In: The birds of North America (P.G. Rodewald, ed.). Cornell Lab of Ornithology, Ithaca, NY.

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Suggested Citation:

B.C. Conservation Data Centre. 2019. Conservation Status Report: Falco peregrinus pealei. B.C. Minist. of Environment. Available: (accessed Mar 1, 2024).