Now that we’ve had a complete changeover of adult peregrines at the Cathedral of Learning (as of 6 April 2016) we need new guidelines for telling apart the male and female.
Here are some clues for identifying Terzo and Hope when viewing them on the nestcam. The most reliable clues are listed first.
1. Faces: Examine the photos above for these clues. Terzo is at top, Hope on bottom.
Terzo: The area between Terzo’s malar stripe (moustache) and the dark gray of his nape (back of his neck) is bright white with a small black spot at the top. His “necklace” is long and thin and almost reaches the bottom of his malar stripe. Some people say the white area framed by gray looks like a heart.
Hope: The area between Hope’s malar stripe and nape is “muddy” with gray feathers. She has almost no “necklace.”
2. Band colors: Terzo’s color band is Black over Red, N/29. Hope’s is Black over Green, 69/Z.
3. Plumage contrast on back: Adult male peregrines usually have paler gray backs than the females. See the photos below: Terzo above, Hope at bottom.
Terzo: His head and wingtips are darker than the feathers on his back.
Hope: Her feathers are more uniform in color.
4. Pale Stripes on flanks and legs versus Bold Stripes:
Terzo is a bright white bird and this shows on his legs and flanks. His striped feathers are more white than black.
Hope’s dark stripes are much more obvious.
And now, a quiz. Can you figure out who is who in this photo? Who’s at the back? Who’s in front? What clues did you use?
(photos from the National Aviary falconcam at Univ of Pittsburgh)