All Bird Species

5 Types of Falcons In Texas (With Pictures)

Falcons in Texas have piqued my interest through my research. This birdwatcher’s paradise, second only in size to Alaska, is a mosaic of habitats, home to over 660 bird species. From Bolivar Flats to Big Bend, the state’s birding sites are legendary. The Falconidae family, with their unmatched hunting prowess, calls Texas home. Among them, the true falcons of the Falco genus dominate. In all, nine falcon species grace the Texas skies, each with its own unique mastery of the hunt.

1. Aplomado Falcon

  • Scientific name – Falco femoralis
  • Lifespan – 12 years (maximum recorded)
  • Size – (38 to 43 cm)
  • Weight – (208 to 500 g)
  • Wingspan – (76 to 100 cm)
  • Status – Least concern

The Aplomado Falcon is a medium-sized falcon, recognized for its lengthy tail and wings, along with bold black and white facial stripes. Its belly boasts a blend of colors, ranging from whitish to buffy, complemented by a dark breast band and a rusty lower belly.

Aplomado Falcon

Examining its back reveals either a dark brown or slate blue hue, while its tail exhibits a clear black and white design. Dark bars adorn the undersides of its wings, contributing to its distinct appearance. This falcon’s call is quite unique, characterized by a sharp “kek” sound.

2. Prairie Falcon

  • Scientific name – Falco mexicanus
  • Lifespan – 17 years (maximum recorded)
  • Size – (37 to 47 cm)
  • Weight – (420 to 1100 g)
  • Wingspan – (90 to 113 cm)
  • Status – Least concern

The Prairie Falcon is a medium-large bird of prey, featuring a lengthy tail and wings. Both males and females share a similar appearance, displaying brown upperparts, whitish underparts, and brown markings on the breast and belly.

Prairie Falcon

Distinctive features include a pale line above the eye and a brown mustache on the face. The underside of the wings appears dark between the “armpit” and the “wrist”. When vocalizing, this falcon typically emits a series of sharp “kik-kik-kik” calls.

3. American Kestrel

  • Scientific name – Falco sparverius
  • Lifespan – 14 years (maximum recorded)
  • Size – (22 to 31 cm)
  • Weight – (80 to 165 g)
  • Wingspan – (51 to 61 cm)
  • Status – Least concern

The American kestrel Falcons in Texas is a small falcon with long wings and a tail. Males have slate-blue wings, a rusty, black-barred back, and varied underside colors, ranging from white to rusty. Females are rusty all over with black barring on top.

American Kestrel

Both males and females sport a grey crown and two dark moustachial stripes. Their underwings showcase a black-and-white pattern. When vocalizing, they produce a series of notes resembling “klee” or “killy”.

4. Peregrine Falcon

  • Scientific name – Falco peregrinus
  • Lifespan – 19 years (maximum recorded)
  • Size – (36 to 49 cm)
  • Weight – (530 to 1600 g)
  • Wingspan – (100 to 110 cm)
  • Status – Least concern

The Peregrine Falcon is a sizable bird with long wings and tail. It showcases whitish underparts adorned with dark horizontal bars on the breast. Its upper side boasts a blue-grey hue, while the head features a dark coloration and a prominent mustache on the face.

Peregrine Falcon

Underneath, its wings are whitish with black markings. When communicating, this falcon emits a loud, rapid “kak-kak-kak” call.

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5. Merlin

  • Scientific name – Falco columbarius
  • Lifespan – 11 years (maximum recorded)
  • Size – (24 to 30 cm)
  • Weight – (160 to 240 g)
  • Wingspan – (53 to 68 cm)
  • Status – Least concern

The Merlin is a compact bird of prey featuring a long tail and wings. Males typically sport a grey upper side, a pale mustache, and a slender line above the eye. Body coloration varies by location, and certain subspecies lack a mustache altogether.

Merlin bird

Underneath, the Merlin displays streaked undersides and dark underwings. Females, on the other hand, are predominantly brown with a thin line above the eye and heavily streaked underparts. Their vocalization is a high-pitched chatter.

Frequently Asked Questions

Q1. What type of falcons live in Texas?

Texas is home to various falcon species, including the Peregrine Falcon, American Kestrel, Prairie Falcon, and Aplomado Falcon.

Q2. What is the biggest bird in Texas?

The American Bald Eagle holds the title of the largest bird in Texas, with an impressive wingspan and majestic presence.

Q3. Are there raptors in Texas?

Yes, Texas is rich in raptor diversity, with numerous species inhabiting the state, including hawks, eagles, falcons, and owls.

Q4. Why are falcons special?

Falcons are remarkable birds known for their speed, agility, and hunting prowess. They play a vital role in controlling pest populations and maintaining ecosystem balance, making them essential components of their habitats.

John William

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