Family Falcons, Caracaras (Falconidae)

Least Concern

Grey Kestrel (Falco ardosiaceus)


French: Faucon ardoisé German: Graufalke Spanish: Cernícalo pizarroso

Falco Ardosiaceus


, 1823,



Sometimes united in subgenus Dissodectes with other grey kestrels F. dickinsoni and F. zoniventris. Monotypic.


Senegambia E to Ethiopia and Eritrea, and S to Ivory Coast thence E through N Cameroon to N & E DRCongo, and S through W Kenya and Tanzania to E Gabon, Congo, Angola, N Zambia and N Namibia.

Descriptive notes

28–33 cm; male 205–255 g, female 195–300 g; wingspan 58–72 cm. Stocky, dark grey kestrel with blackish primaries obscurely barred whitish, a heavy... read more


Gives shrill, chattering "kee-kee-kee..." in alarm around nest, like other kestrels, also... read more


Woodland, including plantations, and wetter savanna with dense stands of large trees or palms,... read more

Food and feeding

Mainly grasshoppers and small reptiles, such as lizards (Mabuya and Agama), snakes and chameleons; also small birds,... read more


Laying Jan–Apr in W Africa (e.g. Ghana); Aug–Oct in S Kenya, Tanzania and Angola, but eggs in Apr in Uganda. Nest in tree... read more


Resident in most areas; no regular movements reported, and remains in vicinity of Hamerkop nests... read more

Status and conservation

Not globally threatened (Least Concern). CITES II. Common in parts of range, e.g. W Africa and Angola, but uncommon in most others; large areas of natural habitat remain,... read more

Recommended citation

Kemp, A.C., Kirwan, G.M. & Bonan, A. (2019). Grey Kestrel (Falco ardosiaceus). 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 7 December 2019).