Hybrid Gyrfalcon x Barbary Falcon in Toronto


Reported as a Prairie Falcon on 18 January 2004 at Humber Bay, the identity of this falcon generated much interest.

Ron Pittaway posted on Ontbirds on 19 January 2004 that it is NOT a Prairie Falcon. The bird had checkered black-and-white wing linings like many Peregrines. It completely lacked the dark wing pits (axillaries) and usual dark wing linings (coverts) of a Prairie Falcon. It didn't have a white area behind the eye, which is typical Prairie Falcons. Interestingly, a band was seen by three observers on its right leg. It's also tame . Based on photos, it was thought most likely to be a possible hybrid Gyrfalcon x Saker Falcon. Others suggested that it was a Gyrfalcon x Peregrine, pure Gyrfalcon, Tundra Peregrine, Introduced Peregrine, etc.


On 1 February 2004, Ron Pittaway posted that he received new information from a reliable source about the identity and origin of Toronto's mystery falcon, which was seen in January. It is a hybrid Gyrfalcon x Barbary Falcon. It is a juvenile female that escaped while being moved to a transport crate for export.

The Barbary Falcon is closely related to the Peregrine Falcon, but is smaller and less bulky with a narrower moustachial streak. It is native to
northern Africa and the Middle East.