Nankeen Kestrel (species: Falco (Falco) cenchroides) in Bullala NP (Gaia Guide)
Falco (Falco) cenchroides
Nankeen Kestrel

©Fir0002 on Wikipedia: Victoria, Australia

©Tom Tarrant: Nankeen kestrel (Falco (Falco) cenchroides)

©Lip Kee Yap: Nankeen kestrel (Falco (Falco) cenchroides)
Kingdom Animalia
Phylum Chordata
Class Aves
Order Falconiformes
Family Falconidae
Genus Falco
Species Falco (Falco) cenchroides
Status unspecified



Distinguishing features

It is rufous or brown above and white or off-white below, with a black tail tip.

Plumage varies considerably in detail, and some birds can look very scruffy, but the slim build, small size and distinctive straight-winged hovering habit make identification easy. (Wikipedia)


  • From 33 cm to 35.5 cm (Length of specimen) - applies to Females
  • From 30 cm to 33 cm (Length of specimen) - applies to Males


  • From 66 cm to 78 cm



©Atlas of Living Australia: Australian distribution: Nankeen Kestrel (Falco (Falco) cenchroides)

Distribution and habitat preferences

It is found in Australia, New Guinea, and nearby islands, and is an irregular visitor to New Zealand.

It occupies any type of land that is not too densely vegetated, but in particular temperate grasslands and open woodlands. In the tropical north and the sandy deserts of the west, it has a patchy and seasonal distribution. (Wikipedia)

Local abundance

  • Lizard Island, Queensland, Australia: The Atlas of Living Australia (accessed 8 April 2012) lists several records of the Nankeen Kestrel at Lizard Island since 1999.


Diet is varied, with a large number of insects, but also small birds and reptiles, and in particular, small rodents, mostly mice. They are adaptable and hunt in a number of different ways: of these, simply perching in an exposed position (such as on a dead tree or a telephone pole) and watching for prey is the most common, but it is their habit of hovering motionless over crop and grasslands that is most distinctive. (Wikipedia)

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