falcon


falcon
falconine /fawl"keuh nuyn', -nin, fal"-, faw"keuh-/, adj.falconoid, adj.
/fawl"keuhn, fal"-, faw"keuhn/, n.
1. any of several birds of prey of the family Falconidae, esp. of the genus Falco, usually distinguished by long, pointed wings, a hooked beak with a toothlike notch on each side of the upper bill, and swift, agile flight, typically diving to seize prey: some falcon species are close to extinction.
2. Falconry.
a. the female gyrfalcon.
b. falcon-gentle.
c. any bird of prey trained for use in falconry. Cf. tercel.
3. a small, light cannon in use from the 15th to the 17th century.
4. (cap.) Mil. a family of air-to-air guided missiles, some of them capable of carrying nuclear warheads.
[1200-50; ME fauco(u)n, falcon < AF, OF faucon < LL falcon- (s. of falco) hawk (said to be deriv. of falx, s. falc- sickle, referring to the sicklelike talons)]

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I
Any of nearly 60 species of diurnal birds of prey in the family Falconidae, characterized by long, pointed wings and swift, powerful flight.

The name is sometimes restricted to the more than 35 species of true falcons, genus Falco. Species range from 6 to 24 in. (15–60 cm) long. Females of the genus Falco are larger and bolder than males and are preferred for falconry. Falcons, found worldwide, commonly nest in treeholes or on cliff ledges. Some species capture birds in midair; others live on hares, mice, lizards, and insects. See also gyrfalcon, hawk, kestrel, merlin, peregrine falcon.
II
(as used in expressions)
Fighting Falcon
Scott Robert Falcon

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      estado (state), northwestern Venezuela. It is bounded on the north by the Caribbean Sea, west by the Gulf of Venezuela, northwest by Zulia state, and south by Lara and Yaracuy states; it includes the Paraguaná Peninsula. The coastal region was first explored and mapped in 1499 by Juan de la Cosa and Amerigo Vespucci, who were part of the expedition led by Alonso de Ojeda. Consisting primarily of coastal lowlands and northern Andean outliers, the territory of 9,575 square miles (24,800 sq km) is dry and agriculturally poor. Farming is generally restricted to river valleys and mountain terraces; crops such as corn (maize), coconuts, sesame, sugar cane, and coffee are grown. Goat raising is widespread, but the higher elevations have been denuded by overgrazing and deforestation. In contrast, the Paraguaná Peninsula and the area around the state capital, Coro, have experienced rapid industrialization and growth, and huge oil refineries are situated on the southwestern shore of the peninsula. About two-thirds of Venezuela's total output is produced there and then exported by tanker. Northern Falcón, including the peninsula, is well served by highways. Pop. (2007 est.) 901,518.

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Universalium. 2010.

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