Arizona is a haven for wildlife enthusiasts, especially those who love birds. One of the most awe-inspiring bird species found in Arizona are the majestic falcons. These birds of prey are known for their incredible speed, agility, and hunting skills.

From soaring through the skies to diving down to catch their prey, the falcons of Arizona are a wonder to behold. There are several species of falcons found in Arizona, each with their unique characteristics and behaviors. Whether you are a seasoned birder or a casual observer, spending time with these magnificent birds is an experience like no other.

Key Takeaways:

  • Arizona is home to several species of falcons that boast unique features and behaviors
  • Falcons are known for their incredible speed and hunting skills
  • Observing falcons in their natural habitats is a memorable experience for wildlife enthusiasts

Understanding Falcon Species in Arizona

Arizona is home to a diverse range of falcon species, each with their unique features and behaviors. Let’s explore each of these species in more detail:

American Kestrel

The American Kestrel is the smallest falcon species found in Arizona. Its size ranges from 8 to 10 inches in length, with a wingspan of 20 inches. They are predominantly brown with blue-gray wings and a rust-colored back. Their diet consists mainly of insects, small mammals, and reptiles.

Peregrine Falcon

The Peregrine Falcon is a medium-sized falcon, measuring around 15 inches in length with a wingspan of 40 inches. They have a sleek, blue-gray back, and white or buff-colored underparts. Peregrines are known for their incredible diving speeds, which can reach up to 240 miles per hour. Their diet consists of other birds, such as pigeons and ducks.


The Merlin is a small falcon species, measuring around 10 inches in length with a wingspan of 22 inches. They have a dark brown back with a buff-colored breast and belly. Merlins are known for their agility, capable of changing direction mid-air to catch their prey. Their diet mainly consists of small birds and insects.


The Gyrfalcon is the largest falcon species found in Arizona, with a length of up to 25 inches and a wingspan of 60 inches. They have a white or gray back with dark spots and a black head. They are renowned for their powerful talons and beak, capable of hunting prey as large as geese. Their diet mainly consists of other birds and mammals.

These are the main falcon species found in Arizona, each with their unique features and behaviors. Observing these magnificent birds in their natural habitats is a thrilling experience and one that should not be missed.

Birdwatching and Bird Species Identification in Arizona

If you’re interested in birdwatching and want to identify different bird species, including falcons, Arizona is the perfect destination. Here are some tips on how to identify the different types of birds you might encounter during your birdwatching adventure:

Study their Physical Characteristics

One of the easiest ways to identify different bird species, including falcons, is by studying their physical characteristics. Falcons typically have long, pointed wings that allow them to fly fast, and a distinctive hooked beak that is used to catch prey. Additionally, each type of falcon has a unique coloring and pattern on their feathers, which can help you identify them.

Listen for their Calls

Another way to identify different bird species is by listening to their calls. Each type of bird has a unique call, which can help you identify it even if you can’t see it. Falcons have a distinctive scream-like call, which can be heard from a distance.

Bring a Field Guide

To aid you in identifying different bird species, we recommend bringing a field guide with you. A field guide is a book that provides detailed descriptions and illustrations of different bird species, including falcons. It can be an invaluable resource when trying to identify different birds in their natural habitats.

Join a Birdwatching Tour

If you’re new to birdwatching and want to learn more about identifying different bird species, including falcons, we recommend joining a birdwatching tour. Tour guides are experienced in bird identification and can help you spot different types of birds, including falcons. They can also provide tips and tricks for identifying birds in the wild.

By following these tips, you’ll be able to identify different bird species, including falcons, during your birdwatching adventure in Arizona. Happy birdwatching!

Exploring Arizona’s Birding Locations

Arizona boasts an impressive variety of landscapes, each providing unique opportunities for observing birds of prey, including falcons. From deserts to mountain ranges, here are some of the top birding locations in Arizona:

Location Type of Falcon Features
The Sonoran Desert Peregrine Falcon The Sonoran Desert is home to the fastest animal in the world, the Peregrine Falcon. Birdwatchers flock to this region to witness the breathtaking speed of these magnificent creatures.
The Huachuca Mountains Merlin Falcon The Huachuca Mountains are a hidden gem for birdwatchers, offering up-close encounters with a variety of bird species, including the Merlin Falcon.
The Chiricahua Mountains Gyrfalcon The Chiricahua Mountains are renowned for being one of the best birding locations in the world. Birdwatchers can spot a variety of falcon species here, including the rare and elusive Gyrfalcon.

Other notable birding locations in Arizona include the San Francisco Peaks, Grand Canyon National Park, and Saguaro National Park. Each of these locations offers a unique and unforgettable birdwatching experience.

Conservation Efforts for Arizona’s Falcons

Arizona’s falcons face various threats that have put them on the endangered species list. Fortunately, there are organizations and individuals working tirelessly to protect and conserve these magnificent birds and their habitats.

Arizona Falconers Association

The Arizona Falconers Association is an organization dedicated to the conservation of birds of prey, including falcons. They work with state and federal agencies to promote the responsible and sustainable practice of falconry while supporting conservation programs for falcons and their habitats. They also provide education and outreach programs to raise awareness about the importance of falcon conservation.

Arizona Game and Fish Department

The Arizona Game and Fish Department is responsible for the conservation and management of wildlife in the state, including falcons. They work to protect falcons and their habitats through research, monitoring, and management programs. They also collaborate with other organizations and agencies to support falcon conservation efforts.

The Peregrine Fund

The Peregrine Fund is a non-profit organization that works to conserve birds of prey and their habitats worldwide. They have a strong presence in Arizona, where they have implemented several conservation programs for falcons, including the reintroduction of a breeding program for the peregrine falcon. They also conduct research and advocacy initiatives to promote falcon conservation.

Volunteer Opportunities

There are numerous opportunities for individuals to get involved in falcon conservation efforts in Arizona. Many organizations accept volunteers to assist with monitoring and research programs, habitat restoration, and education and outreach programs. By volunteering, individuals can make a significant contribution to falcon conservation while also gaining valuable knowledge and experience.


In conclusion, the fascinating falcons of Arizona are truly a wonder to behold. From their majestic flight patterns to their unique physical traits, these birds are a true marvel of nature.

As we have explored in this guide, Arizona is home to a diverse range of falcon species, each with their own distinctive characteristics. By understanding these species and practicing proper birdwatching techniques, we can gain a deeper appreciation for the beauty of Arizona’s wildlife.

Protecting Arizona’s Falcons

It is important to remember that the conservation of falcons and their habitats is crucial for the preservation of these magnificent birds. Organizations and individuals are working tirelessly to protect and restore falcon populations in Arizona, and their efforts are making a difference.

As visitors to Arizona’s birding locations, we can do our part by respecting wildlife and their habitats. By practicing responsible tourism and supporting conservation efforts, we can ensure that future generations will be able to enjoy these spectacular birds for years to come.

So, whether you are a seasoned birder or a first-time visitor to Arizona, we encourage you to embark on a journey to discover the fascinating falcons of this beautiful state. We hope this guide has provided you with valuable insights and inspiration for your next adventure.


Q: What are some common falcon species found in Arizona?

A: In Arizona, you can find several falcon species, including the American Kestrel, Peregrine Falcon, and Prairie Falcon.

Q: Where is the best place to go birdwatching in Arizona?

A: Arizona offers a wide range of birding locations, but some popular spots for birdwatching include the San Pedro Riparian National Conservation Area, Madera Canyon, and the Sonoran Desert National Monument.

Q: How can I identify different bird species, including falcons?

A: To identify different bird species, it is helpful to observe their physical characteristics, such as size, coloration, and wing shape. Field guides and smartphone apps can also assist in bird species identification.

Q: What conservation efforts are in place to protect falcons in Arizona?

A: Various organizations in Arizona are dedicated to conserving falcons and their habitats. They work towards safeguarding nesting areas, monitoring populations, and raising awareness about the importance of falcon conservation.

Categorized in: