ANIMAL: Gyrfalcon Falco rusticolus Type of Animal: Falcon Habitat: Tundra, bluffs/cliffs along shorelines/rivers/lakes, barren lands (especially those w/ rocky outcrops), mountains, small settlements/towns, rocky seacoasts, offshore islands, taiga forests/edges/margins, northern forest margins/edges, small spruce stands along beaches/dunes, coasts, reservoirs, farmland, grassland, shrubland, river valleys, river areas, sea ice areas, agricultural fields, rocky areas Location(s): Arctic, Alaska, Canada, Greenland, Continental US (most of Washington, NE Oregon, most of Idaho, Montana, most of Wyoming, N Dakota, N & W S Dakota, extreme NW Nebraska, N Minnesota, N Wisconsin, N & E Michigan, N New York, N New Hampshire, N Vermont, most of Maine), Iceland, Scandinavia, most of Russia, N Kazakhstan, N Mongolia, far NE China Appearance: Largest true falcon in world, 3 main morphs-white morph predominantly white w/ black barring on back/wings & white tail, silver/gray morph has white upper body w/ dark streaks & gray tail w/ thin white bands, often resembling Peregrine but paler/larger, dark morph has dark brown upper body, heavily streaked underbelly, pale flight feathers, & dark tail, often resembles Prairie Falcon but larger, all morphs have long broad-based pointed wings & short dark hooked beaks, juveniles often darker than adults, females larger than males Food/Diet: Ptarmigan, grouse, seabirds, ducks, geese, swans, ground squirrels, lemmings, voles, hares, rabbits, marmots, shorebirds, songbirds, smaller raptors, corvids, wading birds, arctic fox kits, fish, shrews, poultry, pheasants, cranes Status in Wild: Stable Conservation: Breeding from zoos & private breeders Lifestyle: Solitary or monogamous pairs, though siblings found in groups of their own as well Additional Info: Called: Male: Tiercel Female: Falcon Young: Eyas Group: Cast/Cauldron/Kettle Weight: Male: 1.775-2.976 lbs Female: 2.601-4.63 lbs Young: 11 oz Gestation: 5 weeks Life Span: 14-20 years Height: Male: 1.58-2 ft Female: 1.67-2.125 ft Body Length: Male: 1.58-2 ft Female: 1.67-2.125 ft Tail Length: Male: 7.7 in Female: 11.4 in Main predators of adults are eagles, bears, wolves, & wolverines. Ravens, owls, & foxes prey on young. Sometimes compete w/ peregrine falcons in areas where both found w/ smaller peregrines outcompeting larger gyrs & sometimes killing them. Often breed when temps are still below 0 F in late February. Young stay w/ parents for 3-8 months. Fun Fact(s): Have been valued in falconry/hunting for centuries. In Medieval Europe, only kings & high nobility were allowed to possess one. Fairly nonaggressive except during nesting season-they’re highly protective of nests, even dive-bombing people & large predators (like bears & wolves). Name Gyrfalcon may be hybrid of Old High German word gir meaning vulture & Latin falx (farm tool w/ curved blade-referencing hooked talons).