Kestrel Nankeen

(Falco cenchroides)

Description: Smallest falcon in Australia also known as Australian kestrel, Windhover, or Sparrowhawk. Distinctive plumage, back and wing coverts chestnut flecked with black, underside whitish pale buff. The undertail is finely barred with black with a broader black band towards the tip. Bill dark grey, Dark teardrop mark under eye. Females tend to be more heavily marked with a chestnust head and tail with black subterminal band.  Males have a grey head and tail. Females are larger than males.

Size:  30-35cm

Voice: the call is a peculiar chatter

Feeding: Very skilled at hovering and can appear motionless when searching for prey, using its fan shaped tail as a rudder. Once prey is spotted, the bird drops nearer to the ground until it is close enough to pounce. Their diet is varied , mainly feeds on small mammals, reptiles, small birds and a variety of insects.

Habitat: Singly or in pairs. Widespread usually in open country, such as grasslands, farmland. Avoid dense forests. They have also adapted to urban areas, often nesting in large buildings.

Location: Mainland Australia and Tasmania (not common in Tas) – accidental to New Zealand.

Nests: In a hollow of a tree, caves, crevice in a rock, or even ledges on the outside of buildings.

Eggs: 4-5, dull white or buff, blotched and greckled with reddish-brown

Breeding Season: Mainly August-November

Acknowledgements: Field Guide to the Birds of Australia: Simpson and Day,  A Naturalists Guide to the Birds of Australia: Dean Ingwersen National Geographic, What Bird is that?: Neville W Cayleys,


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