Thursday, October 25, 2012

Shaheen SHAHEEN FALCON (Military state-bird of the Pakistan Air Force)

Shaheen Falcon is the military state-bird of the Pakistan Air Force. It is also known as the Peregrine Falcon.

Shaheen falcons are bird hunters and are one of the fastest and most aerial predators, using an array of tactics for searching out, attacking, capturing and killing their prey. In its hunting dive, the stoop, which involves soaring to a great height and then diving steeply at speeds commonly said to be over 320 km/h (200 mph), and hitting one wing of its prey so as not to harm itself on impact. The air pressure from a 200 mph (320 km/h) dive could possibly damage a bird's lungs, but small bony tubercles on a falcon's nostrils guide the powerful airflow away from the nostrils, enabling the bird to breathe more easily while diving by reducing the change in air pressure.To protect their eyes, the falcons use their nictitating membranes (third eyelids) to spread tears and clear debris from their eyes while maintaining vision. The Peregrine is renowned for its speed during its characteristic hunting stoop, making it the fastest member of the animal kingdom.


The Shaheen is a small and powerful-looking falcon raptor with a black crown and nape and a black wedge extending below the eye forming a distinctive “helmet”. It has blackish upper parts, rufous underparts with fine, dark streaks, and white on the throat. The complete black face mask is sharply demarcated from the white throat. It has distinctive rufous underwing-coverts . The throat is white and the under parts are white to buff, with blackish brown bars on the sides, thighs, abdomen, under wings, and lower breast area . The cere and eye-rings are bluish and the leg coloration varies from green to yellow. The beak is sharply hooked with a conspicuous notch located on the cutting edge. 

The male is about the size of a House Crow and the female is larger than male. The male (called the "tiercel") and the female (simply called the "falcon"). The birds range in length from 380 to 440 mm.

 The Shaheen Falcon has a body length of 34 to 58 centimetres (13–23 in) and a wingspan from 74 to 120 centimetres (29–47 in). Males weigh 424 to 750 grams (0.93–1.7 lb) and the noticeably larger females weigh 910 to 1,500 grams (2.0–3.3 lb) The standard linear measurements of Peregrines are: the wing chord measures 26.5–39 cm (10.4–15 in), the tail measures 13–19 cm (5.1–7.5 in) and the tarsus measures 4.5 to 5.6 cm (1.8 to 2.2 in).

 The Shaheen Falcon requires open space in order to hunt.The Shaheen Falcon hunts at dawn and dusk, when prey is most activeOnce prey is spotted, it begins its stoop, folding back the tail and wings, with feet tucked the Peregrine Falcon strikes its prey with a clenched foot, stunning or killing it then turns to catch it in mid-air Prey is struck and captured in mid-air. If its prey is too heavy to carry, a Peregrine will drop it to the ground and eat it there

Shaheen Falcon are very  Strong and fast falcon, they dive from great heights to strike prey with their talons. If the impact does not kill the prey, the falcon bites the neck of its victim to ensure death.  It is adapted to taking prey in the air. Shaheen Falcon mostly hunt small birds, though medium-sized birds. They occasionally hunt small mammals, small reptiles, or even insects.


The Shaheen Falcon are usually seen as a solitary bird or they are in pairs on cliffs and rock pinnacles. Because of the size difference between a male and a female, a mated pair generally hunt different prey species. Shaheen falcons are monogamous and they typically mate for life. 

The reproductive season is from December to April. The birds occupy nests on high cliff ledges or in cavities and tunnels.They lay clutches of 3-4 eggs. The chicks fledge within 48 days with an average nesting success of 1.32 chicks per nest .After hatching, the chicks (called "eyases" are covered with creamy-white down and have disproportionately large feet. 

The hunting territory of the parents can extend a radius of 19 to 24 km (12–15 miles) from the nest site Chicks fledge 42 to 46 days after hatching, and remain dependent on their parents for up to two months. Both parents leave the nest to gather prey to feed the young.

The Shaheen Falcon nests in a on islands and rocky cliffs, scrape, normally on cliff edges. The female chooses a nest site, where she scrapes a shallow hollow in the loose soil, sand, gravel, or dead vegetation in which to lay eggs. No nest materials are added. Cliff nests are generally located under an overhang, on ledges with vegetation, and south-facing sites are favored.

The Shaheen Falcon is found in South Asia from Pakistan and Kashmir region over across to the Republic of India and Bangladesh in the east and to Sri Lanka and south-eastern China. In the Republic of India,