Family Falcons, Caracaras (Falconidae)

Least Concern

Fox Kestrel (Falco alopex)


French: Crécerelle renard German: Fuchsfalke Spanish: Cernícalo zorruno

Tinnunculus alopex


, 1861,

Gallabat, Sudan


Has been thought possibly to be closest to F. rupicoloides, but quite different in ecology and proportions. Monotypic.


Senegambia S to Sierra Leone and E through Chad, N Cameroon, N Central African Republic and Sudan to Red Sea coast of Eritrea, and S to W & C Ethiopia, NE DRCongo, NW & C#R Kenya and N Uganda.

Descriptive notes

32–39 cm; 250–300 g; wingspan 76–88 cm. A large but slim-bodied, long- almost point-tailed kestrel, deep chestnut all over (except largely black primaries... read more


Vocalizations reminiscent of those of other kestrels, a high-pitched screeching "kreee-kreee-... read more


Rocky hills, cliffs and outcrops adjoining open arid Sahelian savanna and desert, up to 2900 m in... read more

Food and feeding

Large insects, small mammals, lizards and small birds reported as prey. Hunts from tree or rock perch, taking prey on ground, but also... read more


Laying variable locally, but typically during the wet or late dry seasons: Mar–Jun in W Africa, Apr–Jul in Kenya and Jun–... read more


Sedentary in some intermediate areas, but generally moves S from drier areas across whole range in... read more

Status and conservation

Not globally threatened (Least Concern). CITES II. Generally considered to be scarce to uncommon, although regarded as common in Chad. Roadside counts of raptors in Burkina... read more

Recommended citation

Kemp, A.C. & Kirwan, G.M. (2020). Fox Kestrel (Falco alopex). In: del Hoyo, J., Elliott, A., Sargatal, J., Christie, D.A. & de Juana, E. (eds.). Handbook of the Birds of the World Alive. Lynx Edicions, Barcelona. (retrieved from on 18 February 2020).