One of the mysteries of the English language finally explained.
The largest falcon, found in arctic regions and occurring in several colour forms, one of which is mainly white.
- ‘Adam and his team of falconers use predatory birds like gyrfalcons, eagles, and peregrine falcons to clear the air.’
- ‘They've both become superb birders, too, able to distinguish in a wing beat, for example, a gyrfalcon from a peregrine falcon during a brief aerial tussle.’
- ‘Detecting prey from fir away is an essential element in the unique hunting strategy of gyrfalcons.’
- ‘Ranging from creamy pink to pale yellow, peregrine falcon and gyrfalcon eggs are slightly smaller than chicken's eggs, but many times more valuable.’
- ‘Its cliffs and valleys are habitat for peregrine falcons and endangered gyrfalcon, while its tidal flats and river mouths attract huge numbers of migrating birds and waterfowl.’
Middle English: from Old French gerfaucon, of Germanic origin. The first element is probably related to Old High German gēr ‘spear’; the spelling gyr- arose from a mistaken idea that the bird's name came from Latin gyrare ‘revolve’.
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