FALCONS and CARACARAS

"The family Falconidae contains two widely disparate groups of birds, the true falcons and the caracaras....
based on certain shared skeletal characteristics that are not found in other birds of prey." (John Tveten)

"The falcons are the most streamlined of the hawks, with long, narrow, pointed wings and long tails. 
Along with the swifts, they are considered the fastest of all birds, 
reaching speeds of more than 100 miles per hour in a dive, of 'stoop.'" (John Tveten)

FALCONS

American Kestral

This falcon is the smallest of our hawks.  
Falcons are the most "streamlined" of all hawks (long, narrow, pointed wings and long tail). They (and the swifts) are the fastest birds, diving as fast at 100 MPH!
Merlin
Merlin (female) This is a small compact falcon, the length of a jay.
You will only find the Caracaras in the warmer parts of the Americas.
The Crested Caracara is the only species found in the U.S.
Caracara
Crested Caracara - Mexico's national bird, and sometimes called the "Mexican eagle," although it is much like a vulture, food-and-personality-wise. (An immature) The Crested Caracara spends a lot of time on the ground, running after snakes and mice!