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New Zealand Falcon

new zealand falcon

Falco novaeseelandiae (also known as Karearea)


Scattered populations throughout both main islands and some small islands also; very rare north of Auckland


Inland areas, especially in hill country


Mostly birds, both native and introduced species and some mammals and insects




A scrape under cover of a rock or log, or in epiphytes on trees


Two to four eggs. A second clutch possibly may be laid to replace lost or infertile eggs; incubation lasts around 30 days


Fed by females for first 10 days or so; fledge at around 55 days but can fly about 20 days earlier



Conservation status:

Endemic, endangered


Numbers are falling due to habitat loss through land clearing, introduced predators, reduced prey species, environmental poisoning (resulting in breeding failure) and illegal shooting.

As falcons nest on the ground, their eggs and chicks are particularly vulnerable to nocturnal pests like stoats and rats, and also to cats and dogs.

Hunting may involve soaring or perching in a high spot before diving to attack, or flying low to flush birds out of hiding.

Falcons are the world’s fastest birds flying at speeds of over 100 km/h. Amazing hunters, they capable of taking prey up to six times their own bodyweight!

They are strongly territorial. Courtship involves the male mock-attacking or tempting her with food. Food may be plucked before eating and, if large, stashed for finishing later.