Falcons are compact, fast-flying diurnal raptors with long, pointed wings. Small to quite large in size, they are anatomically well adapted to dashing level flights, twisting maneuvers, and high-speed dives in pursuit of live prey. Most falcons can be recognized by their distinctive dark moustachial stripes. Falcons have long toes with sharp talons for grasping prey items, and hooked, noticed beaks for killing and eating them. Female falcons are larger than males.
North American falcons are open-country birds found in a wide variety of habitats, ranging from tundra to southern deserts. True falcons are specialized for chasing and catching their prey in flight. They either grab prey in flight or deliver a stunning blow to a flying bird with their feet and then quickly return to snatch the tumbling prey from the air. They dispatch their prey quickly by biting through the neck and breaking it. Their beaks have a specialized tooth-and-notch structure for this purpose.
In North America, falcons such as Peregrines, American Kestrels, Gyrfalcons, Merlins, and Prairie Falcons can be found.