Female Peregrine Falcon on rock with tree in background. The Peregrine Falcon (Falco peregrinus), also known simply as the Peregrine and historically also as Duck Hawk in North America is a cosmopolitan bird of prey. It feeds almost exclusively on medium-sized birds, but will occasionally hunt small mammals. It reaches sexual maturity at one year, and mates for life. It nests in a scrape, normally on cliff edges or, in recent times on tall man-made structures. The Peregrine Falcon became an endangered species due to the use of pesticides, especially DDT. Since the ban on DDT from the beginning of the 1970s onwards, the populations recovered, supported by large scale protection of nesting places and releases to the wild.