Peregrine falcons are the fastest animals of the land—and it’s no wonder, their bodies are built for speed. While cheetahs can run up to 70 mph on land, peregrine falcons can dive at speed of over 200 mph. That’s faster than a 100 mph sneeze and around the same speed as a Formula One racing car. Peregrines are light in weight, aerodynamically shaped, and have robust respiratory systems; all of which allows them to be the fastest birds of prey, and animals in general. Peregrine falcon numbers took a massive hit during much of the 20th century in North America. They became nearly extinct because of pesticides, specifically DDT. The chemical made the falcon’s—and many other birds — eggshells thinner, preventing the embryos from developing, in addition to poisoning adult falcons. In 1972, DDT was banned and recovery efforts for peregrine falcons began soon after. By 1999, with concerted effort peregrine falcons saw their numbers increase dramatically and were removed the Endangered Species list.
From Gina Barton and Vox: Why peregrine falcons are the fastest animals on earth. Read more at Cornell Lab of Ornithology’s AllAboutBirds.org.