gyr·​fal·​con | \ ˈjər-ˌfal-kən How to pronounce gyrfalcon (audio) , -ˌfȯl- also -ˌfȯ-kən \

Definition of gyrfalcon

: an arctic falcon (Falco rusticolus) that occurs in several color forms and is the largest of all falcons

Illustration of gyrfalcon

Illustration of gyrfalcon

Examples of gyrfalcon in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web Emperors flew eagles and vultures; kings flew gyrfalcons; and ladies flew merlins, a species favored by Mary, Queen of Scots, in the 16th century. Kate Donnelly, Travel + Leisure, "Discover the Thrill of Falconry at The Broadmoor in Colorado Springs," 22 Apr. 2020 Only 3% of all falcons are gyrfalcons, and only 1% of gyrfalcons are white, the academy said. Ryan Prior, CNN, "The Air Force Academy says its longest-serving falcon mascot has died," 2 Oct. 2019 To give context of their rarity, 3 percent of all falcons are gyrfalcons, and only 1 percent of that 3 percent are white. Ryan Prior, CNN, "The Air Force Academy says its longest-serving falcon mascot has died," 2 Oct. 2019 For example, kings could fly gyrfalcons, and servants could fly kestrels. Jennifer Billock, Smithsonian, "Six Spots Around the World Where You Can Try Your Hand at Falconry," 15 Nov. 2019 Only 3 percent of falcons are gyrfalcons, and only 1 percent of them are white. Eric Todisco,, "U.S. Air Force Academy’s Longest-Living Falcon Mascot Dies," 3 Oct. 2019 Aurora was a white phase gyrfalcon, a rare type of a rare species. Ryan Prior, CNN, "The Air Force Academy says its longest-serving falcon mascot has died," 2 Oct. 2019 US Army cadets accidentally injured the Air Force’s gyrfalcon. Rafil Kroll-zaidi, Harper's magazine, "Findings," 10 Jan. 2019 Kitty currently is licensed to educate, breed, educate and hunt with her wards, now numbering 19 including a golden eagle, a European kestrel, a gyrfalcon and a Eurasian eagle owl, one of the largest owls in existence. Vincent Crampton,, "Explore Florida's Suwannee County: Experience an ancient hunting art at International Falconry Academy," 6 May 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'gyrfalcon.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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First Known Use of gyrfalcon

14th century, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for gyrfalcon

Middle English gerfaucun, from Anglo-French girfauc, girfaucon, probably from gir vulture (from Old High German gīr) + faucon falcon

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The first known use of gyrfalcon was in the 14th century

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Last Updated

5 May 2020

Cite this Entry

“Gyrfalcon.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 4 Jul. 2020.

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