PEREGRINE This magnificent raptor, the fastest animal on the planet and the ultimate king of urbanity, is one of the biggest conservation success stories of recent times. From literally being on its knees, in terms of population, due to relentless persecution and, latterly, DDT poisoning, it has discovered urban life with its artificial cliffs and abundant food supplies. And it is thriving, with in excess of 1,500 pairs nationwide. Crucially, a Peregrine is less likely to be killed within urban areas, although this possibility greatly increases once it flies beyond the city limits. Peregrines have a near worldwide distribution apart from Antarctica and, strangely, New Zealand. Some races are quite dark while others like tundrius from the tundras and arctic islands of North America and Greenland are altogether paler and the juveniles have a beautiful buff edging to their plumage.
The size difference between the sexes can be quite remarkable when the birds are viewed together. The female can weigh 60% more than the male, which is also known as the tiercel, from the French la tierce (a third), as he is a third smaller.