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The fastest species in the world, the peregrine falcon (Falco peregrinus) may reach speeds of up to 250 kilometres per hour (155 miles per hour) or more when diving in pursuit of prey. It is also one of the most widely distributed of all birds, and shows considerable variation in size and colouration across its extensive range, with 19 subspecies recognised. A fairly large, stocky falcon, with pointed wings and a relatively short, square tail, the peregrine falcon typically has a bluish-grey crown and upperparts, and whitish, greyish or reddish-brown underparts, with a variable amount of dark spotting and barring. The underwing and tail are also barred, and the pale throat and cheeks contrast with a broad, dark ‘moustache’ stripe. The facial skin and legs of the peregrine falcon are yellow to orange, and the beak is bluish, tinged yellow at the base and black at the tip. The female peregrine falcon is up to 20 percent larger than the male, and usually has more heavily marked underparts. Juveniles can be distinguished by the browner plumage, streaked rather than barred underparts, and blue-grey or greenish legs and facial skin. The peregrine falcon has a variety of calls, including a loud, harsh, persistent chatter, used against intruders The peregrine falcon mainly eats other birds and usually catches them mid-air. An incredibly fast and agile bird, the peregrine falcon attacks prey in a spectacular dive, or chases it to exhaust it.)

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