Nankeen Kestrel

Nankeen Kestrel perched high on a dead tree branch

What does it look like? When observed, the Nankeen Kestrel’s rich rufous upperparts and pale buff underparts, both sparsely spotted and streaked with black, and black-tipped wings and tail, distinguish it from other similar-sized birds of prey.

Where does it live? This slightly-built falcon is found in most habitats throughout Australia.

What are its habitats and habits? In open woodland and agricultural areas, where it is most common, the Nankeen Kestrel is often seen hovering a short distance above the ground.  By rapidly beating its wings and using its fan-shaped tail as a rudder, it keeps its head and body perfectly still. In this manner it locates the insects, reptiles and small mammals, on which it feeds. The Nankeen Kestrel nests in a wide variety of sites, including tree hollows, caves and even ledges on the outside of buildings.

Scientific name: Falco cenchroides

Size: 31 to 36cm

Do you want to know the best places to go to see this species? Check out our book “Australia’s Birdwatching Megaspots” – available for purchase through our secure online store