One of the most common falcon species, the peregrine falcon, eats mainly other birds, such as ducks, gulls, pigeons, cranes, ptarmigans, swifts and many types of songbirds. They also eat bats. Falcons steal prey, such as small invertebrates or fish, from other raptors in flight. Smaller species of falcons feed on small reptiles, rodents and insects.
The tapered shape of the falcon's wings the birds fly swiftly and change direction at a moment's notice. Peregrine falcons are the fastest animals on Earth, with the ability to reach diving speeds of 200 miles per hour. They also have an eyesight that is 2.6 times sharper than that of human sight. This enables them to hover high in the air until they spot prey and dive swiftly to intercept it.
Peregrine falcons are found on every continent except Antarctica. They thrive in a variety of climates and habitats. They even sometimes live on the skyscrapers, churches, bridges and electricity transmission towers in large cities. Peregrine falcons are among the most prized birds in the sport of falconry. In fact, the experience of falconers in handling captive falcons helped re-establish falcon populations devastated by widespread use of DDT, a synthetic insecticide, from 1950 to 1970.