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BC Conservation Data Centre: Species Summary

Falco peregrinus anatum
Peregrine Falcon, anatum subspecies

Scientific Name: Falco peregrinus anatum Bonaparte, 1838
English Name: Peregrine Falcon, anatum subspecies
Classification / Taxonomy
Scientific Name - Concept Reference: American Ornithologists' Union (AOU). 1957. The AOU check-list of North American birds, 5th ed. Port City Press, Inc., Baltimore, MD. 691 pp.
Classification Level: Subspecies
Species Group: Vertebrate Animal
Species Code: B-PEFA-AN
Kingdom Phylum Class Order Family
Animalia Craniata Aves Falconiformes Falconidae
Conservation Status / Legal Designation
Global Status: G4T4 (Apr 2016)
Provincial Status: S2? (Jan 2011)
BC List: Red
Provincial FRPA list:   
Provincial Wildlife Act:
COSEWIC Status: Not at Risk (Dec 2017)
SARA Schedule:
General Status Canada:
Migratory Bird Convention Act:
Ecology & Life History
General Description: A falcon with long pointed wings, a dark crown and nape, and a dark wedge extending below the eye; forehead is pale in immature, which are mainly brownish above rather than black or gray as in adults (NGS 1983).
Subspecies Comments: Three subspecies of peregrines occur in British Columbia: F.p. anatum and F.p. pealei breeds in the province; F.p. tundrius is a long distance migrant that probably passes through the province (Campbell et al. 1990; Cannings 1998; Cooper and Beauchesne 2003b). The Anatum (F.p. anatum) Peregrine Falcon occurs in the southern interior, and although taxonomy still is uncertain, it is thought to be the subspecies that inhabits the Fraser River valley and Gulf Islands (Cooper and Beauchesne 2003b).
Identification Comments: Anatum Peregrines are slightly smaller than Peale's, and somewhat paler, but not as pale as the Tundra Peregrine Falcon. Variations within each of the subspecies tends to be clinal, with some overlap between the subspecies (White et al. 2002).
Global Reproduction Comments: See files for FALCO PEREGRINUS.
Provincial Reproduction Comments: Productivity for coastal Anatum Peregrines in British Columbia is relatively high, as 2-4 fledglings are the norm in recent years for most pairs (D. Doyle, pers. comm. 2004). Recovery of this subspecies on the coast is aided by immigration from elsewhere, for example, there are two known breeding Anatum Peregrines in coastal British Columbia that were banded as nestlings in the San Juan Islands, Washington (D. Doyle, pers. comm. 2004). Prey species for Anatum Peregrine Falcons in the Okanagan region continue to have high levels of organochlorines. Should the species return to the Okanagan region (either naturally or through re-introduction efforts), existing contamination levels may affect reproductive success (Elliott et al. 2005).
Global Ecology Comments: See files for FALCO PEREGRINUS.
Provincial Ecology Comments: Availability of suitable nest sites is often considered the limiting factor for Peregrine Falcons, when habitat approaches saturation. However, in the southern interior of British Columbia, historic aeries remain vacant, indicating that some other factor is not permitting the recovery of the species in this area (Cooper and Beauchesne 2003b).
Migration Characteristics:
(Global / Provincial)
    Local Migrant:
    Distant Migrant:
    Within Borders Migrant:
N / N
N / N
Y / Y
na / N
Global Migration Comments: See files for FALCO PEREGRINUS.
Provincial Mobility & Migration Comments: Anatum Peregrine Falcons move south for the winter with immature birds showing up in the Fraser River delta by August (Campbell et al. 1990). In the Okanagan valley, when birds bred there, these breeding birds would leave the valley from early September through October (Cannings et al. 1987).
(Type / Subtype / Dependence)
Agriculture / Cultivated Field / Facultative - frequent use
Agriculture / Hedgerow / Facultative - frequent use
Agriculture / Pasture/Old Field / Facultative - frequent use
Anthropogenic / Urban/Suburban / Facultative - occasional use
Grassland/Shrub / Antelope-brush Steppe / Facultative - frequent use
Grassland/Shrub / Grassland / Facultative - frequent use
Grassland/Shrub / Meadow / Facultative - frequent use
Grassland/Shrub / Sagebrush Steppe / Facultative - frequent use
Grassland/Shrub / Shrub - Natural / Facultative - occasional use
Lakes / Lake / Facultative - frequent use
Lakes / Pond/Open Water / Facultative - frequent use
Other Unique Habitats / Alkali Ponds/Salt Flats / Facultative - occasional use
Other Unique Habitats / Beach / Facultative - occasional use
Riparian / Gravel Bar / Facultative - occasional use
Riparian / Riparian Herbaceous / Facultative - frequent use
Rock/Sparsely Vegetated Rock / Cliff / Facultative - frequent use
Rock/Sparsely Vegetated Rock / Rock/Sparsely Vegetated Rock / Facultative - frequent use
Rock/Sparsely Vegetated Rock / Talus / Facultative - frequent use
Stream/River / Stream/River / Facultative - occasional use
Wetland / Bog / Facultative - frequent use
Wetland / Fen / Facultative - frequent use
Wetland / Marsh / Facultative - frequent use
Wetland / Swamp / Facultative - frequent use
Global Habitat Comments: See files for FALCO PEREGRINUS.
Provincial Habitat Comments: Anatum Peregrine Falcons typically nest on rock cliffs above lakes or river valleys where abundant prey is nearby. Interior populations are typically associated with wetland habitats that support a sufficient prey base. In the Okanagan valley, aeries have been reported as low as 6 m above a lake and high on cliffs that towered >260 m above the valley floor (Cannings et al. 1987). In the Lower Mainland, nests are on rock cliffs well back but above the Fraser River. In the Gulf Islands, nests are found on seaside cliffs (Cooper and Beauchesne 2003b).
Food Habits: Carnivore: Adult, Immature
Global Food Habits Comments: See files for FALCO PEREGRINUS.
Provincial Food Habits Comments: Concentrated populations of shorebirds, waterfowl, pigeons and songbirds are important prey; other prey may include bats, rodents and insects (Rowell 2002). Peregrines require an ample supply of suitable prey species in areas that permit aerial hunting (Beebe 1974).
Global Phenology: Diurnal: Adult, Immature
Global Phenology Comments: See files for FALCO PEREGRINUS.
Provincial Phenology:
(1st half of month/
2nd half of month)
Feb: / Active
Mar: Active / Active
Apr: Reproducing / Reproducing
May: Reproducing / Reproducing
June: Reproducing / Reproducing
July: Reproducing / Reproducing
Aug: Active / Active
Sept: Active / Active
Oct: Active / Active
Nov: Active /
Provincial Phenology Comments: Coastal pairs may remain year-round near their aeries (Don Doyle, pers. comm.). Interior birds are migratory.
Colonial Breeder: N
Length(cm)/width(cm)/Weight(g): 51/ / 1500
Elevation (m) (min / max): Global: 
Provincial:  0 / 2000
Endemic: N
Global Range Comment: BREEDS: Across interior Alaska, south of the Brooks Range southeastward across Canada to Labrador, and south to Baja California and northern Mexico (Palmer 1988, Ambrose et al. 1988, Rowell 2002). Replaced on the coast of Alaska and outer coast of British Columbia by F. p. pealei. WINTERS: Those breeding in the boreal subarctic winter in South America; those at more southern latitudes exhibit variable migration behavior, and some are nonmigratory (USFWS 1999).
Authors / Contributors
Global Information Author: Hammerson, G.
Last Updated: May 19, 1994
Provincial Information Author: S.M. Beauchesne and J.M. Cooper
Last Updated: Feb 22, 2005
References and Related Literature
1998. Peregrine Falcon. B.C. Minist. Environ., Lands and Parks, Wildl. Branch. 2pp.
American Ornithologists' Union (AOU). 1983. Check-list of North American Birds, 6th edition. Allen Press, Inc., Lawrence, Kansas. 877 pp.
B.C. Ministry of Environment. Recovery Planning in BC. B.C. Minist. Environ. Victoria, BC.
Beebe, F.L. 1974. Field studies of the Falconiformes of British Columbia: vultures, hawks, falcons, eagles. B.C. Prov. Mus. Occas. Pap. No. 17, Victoria, 163pp.
Brown, B. T., et al. 1992. Density of nesting peregrine falcons in Grand Canyon National Park, Arizona. Southwestern Naturalist 37:188-193.
Cade, T.J. 1982. The Falcons of the World. Cornell University Press, Ithaca, New York. 192 pp.
Cade, T.J., J.H. Enderson, C.G. Thelander, and C.M. White. 1988. Peregrine Falcon Populations. Their Management and Recovery. The Peregrine Fund: Boise, Idaho. 949 pp., 67 pls.
California Department of Fish and Game (CDF&G). 1990. 1989 annual report on the status of California's state listed threatened and endangered plants and animals. 188 pp.
Campbell, R.W., N.K. Dawe, I. McTaggart-Cowan, J.M. Cooper, G.W. Kaiser, and M.C.E. McNall. 1990b. The Birds of British Columbia Vol. 2: Nonpasserines: Diurnal Birds of Prey through Woodpeckers. Royal British Columbia Museum, Victoria, BC.
Cannings, R.A., R.J. Cannings, and S.G. Cannings. 1987. Birds of the Okanagan Valley, B.C. Royal B.C. Mus., Victoria, BC. 420pp.
Cooper, J.M. 1998. An Inventory Report on the Status of Diurnal Raptors (Ferruginous Hawk, Swainson's Hawk, Prairie Falcon, Peregrine Falcon) at Risk in the Southern Grasslands of British Columbia. B.C. Minist. Environ., Lands and Parks, Wildl. Branch. Working Rep. WR-92. 24pp.
Cooper, J.M., and S.M. Beauchesne. 2004. Status of the Peregrine Falcon in British Columbia (Falco peregrinus) in British Columbia. B.C. Minist. Water, Land and Air Prot., Biodiversity Branch, Victoria, BC. Wildl. Bull. No. B-115.
COSEWIC. 2007e. COSEWIC assessment and update status report on the Peregrine Falcon Falco peregrinus (pealei subspecies - Falco peregrinus pealei and anatum/tundrius - Falco peregrinus anatum/tundrius) in Canada. Committee on the Status of Endangered Wildlife in Canada. Ottawa. vii + 45pp.
Demarchi, M.W. and M.D. Bently. 2005. Best Management Practices for Raptor Conservation during Urban and Rural Land Development in British Columbia. B.C. Minist. of Environ., Victoria, B.C. MoE BMP Series.
Ehrlich, P. R., D. S. Dobkin, and D. Wheye. 1992. Birds in Jeopardy: the Imperiled and Extinct Birds of the United States and Canada, Including Hawaii and Puerto Rico. Stanford University Press, Stanford, California. 259 pp.
Elliott, J.E., M.J. Miller, and L.K. Wilson. 2005. Assessing breeding potential of peregrine falcons based on chlorinated hydrocarbon concentrations in prey. Environ. Pollution 134(2005):353-361.
Erickson, G. et al. 1988. Anatum Peregrine Falcon Recovery Plan. Recovery of Nationally Endangered Wildlife. Ottawa. 52pp.
Grebence, B. L., and C. M. White. 1989. Physiographic characteristics of peregrine falcon nesting habitat along the Colorado River system in Utah. Great Basin Naturalist 49:408-418.
Holroyd, G. L., and U. Banasch. 1990. The reintroduction of the peregrine falcon, Falco peregrinus anatum, into southern Canada. Canadian Field-Naturalist 104:203-208.
Johnsgard, P. A. 1990. Hawks, eagles, and falcons of North America. Smithsonian Inst. Press, Washington, D.C. xvi + 403 pp.
Johnson, S. R. and D. R. Herter. 1989. The Birds of the Beaufort Sea. BP Exploration (Alaska) Inc., Anchorage, Alaska. 372 pp.
Johnson, T. H. 1988. Responses of breeding peregrine falcons to human stimuli. Pages 301-305 in Glinski et al., eds. Proc. Southwest raptor management symposium and workshop. Nat. Wildl. Fed. Sci. and Tech. Ser. No. 11.
King, W. B., compiler. 1979. Endangered birds of the world. The International Council for Bird Preservation. Smithsonian Institution Press, Washington, D.C. [Reprinted in handbook form in 1981.]
Krupa, M. 2000. Return of the Peregrine Falcon. Pp. 859-860 in L.M. Darling, ed. 2000. Proc. Conf. on the Biology and Manage. Species and Habitats at Risk, Kamloops, B.C., 15-19 Feb., 1999. Vol. 2; B.C. Minist. Environ., Lands and Parks, Victoria, BC, and Univ. College of the Cariboo, Kamloops, BC. 520pp.
Lefranc, M. N., Jr., and R. L. Glinski. 1988. Southwest raptor management issues and recommendations. Pages 375-392 in Glinski et al., eds. Proc. Southwest raptor management symposium and workshop. National Wildlife Federation Science and Tech. Ser. No. 11.
National Geographic Society (NGS). 1983. Field guide to the birds of North America. National Geographic Society, Washington, DC.
Palmer, R. S., ed. 1988b. Handbook of North American birds. Vol. 5. Yale Univ. Press, New Haven. 465 pp.
Peakall, D. B. 1990. Prospects for the peregrine falcon, FALCO PEREGRINUS, in the nineties. Canadian Field-Naturalist 104:168-173.
Sherrod, S. K., et al. 1982. Hacking: a method for releasing peregrine falcons and other birds of prey. Secondedition. The Peregrine Fund, Cornell Univ., Ithaca, New York. vi + 61 pp.
Skaggs, R. W., et al. 1988. Peregrine falcon. Pages 127-136 in Glinski et al., eds. Proc. Southwest raptor management symposium and workshop. Natural Wildlife Fed. Science and Tech. Ser. No. 11.
The Peregrine Fund. 1992. Peregrine falcon recovery program: status and reommendations. Unpublished report.
U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS). 1990. Endangered and threatened species recovery program: report to Congress. 406 pp.
U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS). 1991. Request for information on the Arctic and American peregrine falcons. Federal Register 56(113):26969-26971.
U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS). 1999. Final rule to remove the American Peregrine Falcon from the federal list of endangered and threatened wildlife, and to remove the similarity of appearance provision for free-flying Peregrines in the conterminous United States. Federal Register 64 (164):46542-46558.
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.

Please visit the website Conservation Status Ranks for definitions of the data fields used in this summary report.

Suggested Citation:

B.C. Conservation Data Centre. 1994. Species Summary: Falco peregrinus anatum. B.C. Minist. of Environment. Available: (accessed May 28, 2024).