One of the mysteries of the English language finally explained.
The largest falcon, found in arctic regions and occurring in several color forms, one of which is mainly white.
Falco rusticolus, family Falconidae
- ‘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.’
- ‘Ranging from creamy pink to pale yellow, peregrine falcon and gyrfalcon eggs are slightly smaller than chicken's eggs, but many times more valuable.’
- ‘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.’
- ‘Adam and his team of falconers use predatory birds like gyrfalcons, eagles, and peregrine falcons to clear the air.’
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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