Fun Malagasy Kestrel Facts For Kids

Moumita Dutta
Nov 17, 2022 By Moumita Dutta
Originally Published on Nov 15, 2021
Edited by Luca Demetriou
Malagasy kestrel facts shed light on this amazing bird.

A dictionary defines a kestrel to be a falcon small in size, that rapidly beats its wings while it searches for prey on the ground. These falcons are smaller in size than hawks or eagles. The behavior of the common kestrel is interesting.

It performs some courtship displays. These are mainly aerial in nature. The male circles the female feigning attack.

At this point, the female bows with its tail raised and calls loudly. The Kestrel is also called the Old World kestrel or the Eurasian kestrel. The F. ardosiaceus found in Africa is grey in color. The Madagascar kestrel has two subspecies.

These subspecies are the Falco newtoni newtoni and the Falco newtoni aldabranus. The Banded kestrel is a bird of prey that belongs to the family Falconidae. It is related to the grey kestrel.

It is also related to Dickinson's kestrel that is found in Africa. The crécerelle malgache is also called the Malagasy spotted kestrel, Madagascar kestrel, Newton's kestrel, and Madagascar spotted kestrel. The crécerelle malgache is also called katiti (Creole) or hitsikitsika in Malagasy.

Like reading about the Madagascar kestrel? Want to know more about it? Let's move on.

If you like reading about this article, you may also like reading about the griffon vulture and the Andean condor.

Malagasy Kestrel Interesting Facts

What type of animal is a Malagasy kestrel?

The kestrel Falco newtoni is a bird that belongs to the phylum Chordata and the order Falconiformes.

What class of animal does a Malagasy kestrel belong to?

The kestrel Falco newtoni belongs to the class Aves, that is, it is a bird.

How many Malagasy kestrels are there in the world?

The International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) Red List of Threatened Species states that the exact number of mature individuals is not known. However, it was estimated that about 30,000 to 60,000 pairs were left in 1982.

The International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) Red List of Threatened Species states that the current population trend is exhibiting a rising pattern. The population is not severely fragmented.

Where does a Malagasy kestrel live?

The Malagasy kestrel range is not too diverse. The kestrel Falco newtoni of order Falconiformes and family Falconidae is mainly found in Madagascar and Aldabra Islands. The bird species is a resident of the Madagascar islands. The distribution of breeding birds is found in Seychelles islands. A distribution of non-breeding birds is occasionally found in Comoros.

What is a Malagasy kestrel's habitat?

The Malagasy kestrel habitat is in shrublands, open grasslands, savannah, wetlands, palm groves, forest, and mixed scrub.

Who do Malagasy kestrels live with?

This bird species can be seen in pairs in the breeding season. They may also be seen with their juveniles.

How long does a Malagasy kestrel live?

The bird species lives for around six to seven years.

How do they reproduce?

The breeding season is mainly in the months of September to November. In some cases, copulation has been seen in the month of July as well. The fledglings can be found in the months of November to January.

The birds are monogamous and territorial by nature. The Malagasy kestrel nest is built in cavities in buildings, cliff faces, trees, and quarries. The bird also lays eggs in the old and abandoned natal areas of the Black Kite (Milvus migrans) and the Pied Crow (Corvus albus).

No extra material is added. In the secondary forests in Madagascar, a series of eight natal areas were seen side by side.

They were found in the natural cavities of live or dead trees. The nests were situated at around 10-15 meters from the ground. The mean distance was around 2214 ft (0·67 km) between the nests.

The measurements of the nests were 23 in × 11.8 in × 8.66 in (60 cm × 30 cm × 22 cm). The bird lays four eggs usually. Maximum six eggs can be laid.

The Malagasy kestrel eggs are variable in color. It can vary from being uniform orange to being chestnut brown.

They are laid on consecutive days. The mean weight is about 0.5 oz (14.3 g). The Malagasy kestrel female is most responsible for incubation.

The incubation period varies between 27 - 29 days. The young birds disperse from the nesting area after 44 - 45 days. The Malagasy kestrel male mainly provides food in the nests.

What is their conservation status?

The International Union for Conservation of Nature(IUCN) Red List of Threatened Species has granted a status of Least Concern to this bird.

Malagasy Kestrel Fun Facts

What do Malagasy kestrels look like?

The description of the bird of this genus is interesting. The Madagascar kestrel of this genus is a small-sized falcon. It has pointed wings that are not large.

The tail is not that large. The bird occurs in two color morphs. The paler version has rufous upper parts, the head is grey while the underparts are white. It has black streaks on the upper breast.

The dark morph has a very dark head and neck. The underparts and the back are deep chestnuts in color. The female bird has more streaks and is browner.

The juveniles are similar in appearance to females. The Malagasy kestrel feathers in the juvenile are buff-edged. The malagasy kestrel wingspan is 7.08-7.67 in (180-195 mm) in males and 7.4-7.99 in (188-203 mm) in females. The facial skin is yellow in the adults.

The facial skin is greenish-yellow in juveniles. The birds in Aldabra are comparatively smaller and paler. It is especially noticeable in the female birds of this species.

*We've been unable to source an image of a Malagasy kestrel and have used an image of common kestrel instead. If you are able to provide us with a royalty-free image of a Malagasy kestrel, we would be happy to credit you. Please contact us at

How cute are they?

The birds with their soft feathery coat are rather cute. Juveniles with their beautiful colors are cute as well.

How do they communicate?

These birds are very vocal. They are especially so in the breeding season. The Malagasy kestrel call is a sharp scream.

How big is a Malagasy kestrel?

This bird species is 9.84 in (25 cm) in length. This makes them similar in size to hawks and considerably smaller than birds like the golden eagle.

How fast can a Malagasy kestrel fly?

Though the exact information is not available for this species of this family, falcons are known to be fast fliers. In general, falcons can travel at speeds reaching 22-39 mph (35-62.7 kph).

How much does a Malagasy kestrel weigh?

The male kestrel weighs about 4.58 oz (130 g). The female kestrel weighs about 4.3-5.6 oz (122-159 g).

What are the male and female names of the species?

There are no different names for the male and the female of the species of this family.

What would you call a baby Malagasy kestrel?

A baby Malagasy kestrel of this family is called a fledgling.

What do they eat?

The Malagasy kestrel diet is mainly carnivorous. It feeds on insects, small birds, reptiles, and amphibians.

Are they dangerous?

They are usually are not that dangerous to humans.

Would they make a good pet?

The exact information for this kestrel is not available. Certain species of the Old World kestrels can be taken as pets while it is illegal to keep others. Some of these taken pets are easy to tame. However, Old World birds that come from captive breeding should be preferred over those that come from the wild.

Did you know...

The Old World Malagasy kestrel migration is less regular.

The upper elevation limit for the bird is 6003 ft (1,830 m).

Are Malagasy kestrels endangered?

The status of this kestrel is Least Concern according to IUCN. The bird does not have an endangered status. However, human habitations have encroached upon the natural habitats of this bird species. The bird is subjected to international management and various trade controls.

It is not subjected to ex-situ conservation. Conservation sites have been identified over the entire range for the bird. There is no invasive species prevention or control in place. It has not been introduced benignly or successfully reintroduced.

How do Malagasy kestrels behave?

The bird can catch insects during flight. It is known to hunt from a perch on a tree during the winter months. It plays an important role in maintaining balance in an ecosystem.

Here at Kidadl, we have carefully created lots of interesting family-friendly animal facts for everyone to discover! For more relatable content, check out these saker falcon facts and white hawk facts for kids.

You can even occupy yourself at home by coloring in one of our free printable bird coloring pages.

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Written by Moumita Dutta

Bachelor of Arts specializing in Journalism and Mass Communication, Postgraduate Diploma in Sports Management

Moumita Dutta picture

Moumita DuttaBachelor of Arts specializing in Journalism and Mass Communication, Postgraduate Diploma in Sports Management

A content writer and editor with a passion for sports, Moumita has honed her skills in producing compelling match reports and stories about sporting heroes. She holds a degree in Journalism and Mass Communication from the Indian Institute of Social Welfare and Business Management, Calcutta University, alongside a postgraduate diploma in Sports Management.

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