Gyrfalcon with wings stretched.
Gyrfalcon the largest bird.

Gyrfalcon belongs to the family of falco rusticolus. These birds are the fastest birds in the world. They are known for their larger wingspan which is as long as 2 meters. They are endemic to the U.K, Canada, Norway, North America and Russia. They weigh almost 3 pounds with polymorphic bodies. They have feathery bodies with highly variable plumage colouration in the shades ranging from pure white to dark grey brown. 

Gyrfalcon is a latin name which translates to “country dwellers”. As the name says they are rare birds and appear in winters to the visitors in open habitats. Gyrfalcons have powerful sights and hunt their prey very efficiently. Their body is perfectly built with about 3 pounds and the largest wingspan which can still be fastest in the world.

Female and male Gyrfalcon standing in a cage
Female gyrfalcon on the left and make gyrfalcon the right.

Habitat of Gyrfalcon  :

 They dwell in coastal areas, beaches, alpine tundras and arctic forests and open fields. They are very shy animals and prefer to live in solitary. 

Gyrfalcon  feed on :

Ptarmigan  in Tundras
Ptarmigan- primary food of Gyrfalcon.

They prey on seagulls, ravens, owls and, importantly , Ptarmigans. They are the species which maintain the population of Ptarmigans and protect the equilibrium of the ecosystem. These Gyrfalcons must eat half the weight of their bodies per a day, that is 2 to 3 Ptarmigans.


Gyrfalcons are monogamous. They pair in late winter and lay eggs on the cliff side or conifer tree nests. While females start laying eggs , males take the responsibility of hunting prey and protecting them from predators. Within 35 days eggs hatch and 10-15 days after that the little ones fly away to live their lives.

How do they communicate 

Gyrfalcons have tactile communication i.e., by touching other birds and also vocal in nature. They make these “kak- kaak” calls to connect with their fellow birds.

More facts of Gyrfalcon  

  • Gyrfalcon  – the official  mascot of the U.S air force.
  • They are solitary birds who prefer to hunt and forage alone.
  • Male Gyrfalcon  is smaller than the female Gyrfalcon . Where male Gyrfalcon  weighs around 2 pounds and the female weighs about 3-4 pounds.
  • They live upto 20 years.
  • Can’t ignore the fact that they are the cutest vultures. Gyrfalcon  in German means vulture.
  • They love to bathe in ice melting cold waters. 
  • They aren’t  usually non migratory in nature but they are compelled to migrate in search of their food.  

Not the happiest 

Gyrfalcon , like every other creature, must protect itself from predators to survive. Grizzly ears, golden eagles, arctic foxes are predatory threats to Gyrfalcon . Humans hunt or cage these birds for clothing, and religious purposes which is unnatural and poses a serious threat to the population of Gyrfalcon s.

These fastest, largest and wide lack eyed birds are very beautiful yet very ferocious. A gentle reminder to all Gyrfalcon  enthusiasts who are curious to pet one is that it is illegal and importantly GYRFALCON is pronounced as “JER ” FALCON.

– By


Content Writer (Erakina By RTMN)


Tags: bird, fastest, gyrfalcon

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