Fun Nankeen Kestrel Facts For Kids

Oluniyi Akande
Jan 31, 2024 By Oluniyi Akande
Originally Published on Sep 02, 2021
Edited by Jacob Fitzbright
Fact-checked by Kidadl Team
Amazing nankeen kestrel facts that are informative and fun.
Age: 3-18
Read time: 5.7 Min

A Nankeen kestrel (Falco cenchroides) is a raptor bird of prey, also known as the Australian kestrel. It is a slender falcon that has a wide range of distribution throughout Australia and New Guinea and their most common habitats are open wooded areas and open agricultural regions, temperate grasslands, sandy deserts of the west and it usually avoids densely forested areas. There are some similar species raptors (birds of prey ) like the similar-sized Australian hobby and the larger brown falcon.

These birds are quite colorful, their upper parts are mostly rufous, with some dark streaking. In contrast, the underparts are pale buff, streaked with black, and it is the smallest falcon living in Australia. These birds are common in open farm areas and grasslands. The Australian kestrel is a relative of the common kestrel and the spotted kestrel.

To know more about other birds species, one can also check out these white hawk facts and Andean condor facts.

Nankeen Kestrel Interesting Facts

What type of animal is a Nankeen Kestrel?

The Nankeen kestrel (Falco cenchroides) is a relatively small raptor bird of prey, also known as the Australian kestrel. Its main distribution is in Australia, New Guinea, and New Zealand. Their identification can be made as they hover their pointed wings over road reserves and fields, and seasonal distribution over tropical north and the sandy deserts of the west. Females are usually larger than males.

What class of animal does a Nankeen Kestrel belong to?

The Nankeen kestrel (Falco cenchroides) belongs to the Aves class and phylum Chordata. Their identification can be done on the basis of their size as they are relatively small raptor bird residents of Australia and New Guinea. Sometimes they are commonly seen in New Zealand.

How many Nankeen Kestrels are there in the world?

There are around 1-2 million kestrels found in the world in pairs and 20% of the population is dispersed in Europe. These birds are not so rare but the number declined in the 1970s.

Where does a Nankeen Kestrel live?

Nankeen kestrel (Falco cenchroides) birds are residents of Australia and New Guinea and they mostly prefer living close to open grasslands, woodlands, and deserts. They are absent from across densely forested areas and in winters the females are found in more open habitats than the males. They tend to migrate or resident birds partially. There are nominate race birds that are found in South Australia. Nankeen Kestrel range in areas where they are more prone to feed on insects, mammals and small birds and have a nest.

What is a Nankeen Kestrel's habitat?

Australian kestrel inhabits throughout Australia and New Guinea, they live in those sites where they can disperse and the Nankeen kestrel nests can be made, and also food variety is available. These birds are also found near Australia's coastline and are seen in Indonesia as well. Seasonal distribution is made in open land and once they were recorded running 471 miles (758 km) from Sydney to southeast Queensland.

Who do Nankeen Kestrels live with?

Nankeen kestrels are seen in pairs or sometimes alone. They are also seen in flocks of nearly 30 birds occasionally.

How long does a Nankeen Kestrel live?

The total lifespan of an Australian kestrel is unknown but the American kestrel lives for more than five years when in the wild and those kestrels in captivity can live for 11-14 years.

How do they reproduce?

The nest of an Australian kestrel is made in a wide variety of places like tree hollows, caves, ledges on the outside of buildings, and occasionally on the ground. The birds make the nest from simple material in a tree hollow or building and even some birds make nests of sticks in mud which is abandoned by other species of birds. Australian kestrels breed in pairs during the breeding season, and will you will find them using the same nest for several years. Usually, you may see that the females lay one to three eggs at a time and the process of incubation is done only by the female. The female falcons then begin to hunt after 14 days and then fledge began to hunt after a month. The main task for the male is to supply food.

What is their conservation status?

Australian kestrel's conservation status is of Least Concern according to the IUCN Red List.

Nankeen Kestrel Fun Facts

What do Nankeen Kestrels look like?

The Australian kestrel is a slender falcon with rufous upper parts with dark shades and streaking, the wings are tipped black and the underparts are pale buff and also tipped with black. The plumage is dimorphic, which states that the male and female are quite different from each other. Male birds have brown mantle and wings, gray heads, and female birds have a brown cap and more heavily streaked breasts than males. These birds are 11-14 in (28-35.5 cm) long, with a wingspan of between 26-31 in (66-78.7 cm). They have a similar species Australian hobby with blue-gray color having a fan-shaped tail living in Australia. They are the smallest falcons in Australia. A Nankeen kestrel in flight showcases its white coloration below and a black bar at the end of the fan-shaped tail. These birds are mostly confused with other birds of the same genus, but the Nankeen kestrel is quite small and is distinctive from the tooth on each side. There is a black bar on the top of its tail. The males lack the black mark and white during flight takes place.

How cute are they?

The Nankeen kestrel's size makes them look adorable and cute.

How do they communicate?

The Nankeen kestrel's call is a loud shrill 'kee, kee, kee'.

How big is a Nankeen Kestrel?

These birds have a total body length of 11-14 in (28-35.5 cm) and a 26-31 in (66-78.7 cm) long wingspan and they are the smallest falcons residing on the open woodlands and grasslands. They are 20 times smaller than a falcon.

How fast can a Nankeen Kestrel fly?

These birds can not fly at a high speed and lack the ability to fly fast.

How much does a Nankeen Kestrel weigh?

The weight of both sexes of this bird species differs. Males weigh between 4.3-6.9 oz (121-195 g), whereas females weigh around 4.1-9.6 oz (115-273 g). They are five times heavier than a sparrow.

What are the male and female names of the species?

There are no specific names to describe the male and female of this bird.

What would you call a baby Nankeen Kestrel?

A baby Nankeen Kestrel is known as a or chick.

What do they eat?

Their diet includes mice, small birds, crickets, rodents, reptiles, and many more.

Are they dangerous?

They are not dangerous and nor are they aggressive.

Would they make a good pet?

It is unknown whether the Nankeen kestrel would be a good pet or not, however, as they are wild animals they should be left alone and not domesticated.

Did you know...

The Nankeen kestrel is in the top ten most seen birds nearby their habitats and mostly in Australia. Kestrel is derived from a French word that means ratchet.

Do Nankeen Kestrels mate for life?

Yes, they mostly pair for life in settled areas.

Where do Nankeen Kestrels nest?

They nest in tree hollows, buildings, and caves.

Here at Kidadl, we have carefully created lots of interesting family-friendly animal facts for everyone to discover! Learn more about some other birds from our saker falcon facts and griffon vulture facts pages.

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

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Written by Oluniyi Akande

Doctorate specializing in Veterinary Medicine

Oluniyi Akande picture

Oluniyi AkandeDoctorate specializing in Veterinary Medicine

With an accomplished background as a Veterinarian, SEO content writer, and public speaker, Oluniyi brings a wealth of skills and experience to his work. Holding a Doctor of Veterinary Medicine degree from the University of Ibadan, he provides exceptional consulting services to pet owners, animal farms, and agricultural establishments. Oluniyi's impressive writing career spans over five years, during which he has produced over 5000 high-quality short- and long-form pieces of content. His versatility shines through as he tackles a diverse array of topics, including pets, real estate, sports, games, technology, landscaping, healthcare, cosmetics, personal loans, debt management, construction, and agriculture.

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