The gyrfalcon (Falco rusticolus) is the largest of the falcon species. They have pointed wings, but they are not as pointed or as narrow as the wings of smaller falcons. The tail is relatively long. The body is thick and powerful, particularly in females, which are substantially larger than males.
Although the classic image of a Gyrfalcon is a regal white bird with black spotting, the birds occur in shades of white, gray, and dark brown. In North America, gray birds are more numerous than the other two morphs. Adults are heavily barred on the back, wings, and tail, with spotted underparts. Juveniles are heavily streaked; the flight feathers of dark juveniles are lighter and contrast with the rest of the wing.
They hunt primarily birds in open country, sometimes flying high and attacking from above, but more often approaching fast and low, hugging ground contours. They often perch on the ground.
Body Length: 20-25 inches (50-63 cm)
Wingspan: 4 to 4-1/2 feet (1.2-1.3 m)
Photography Copyright Francesca Scalpi