Family Falcons, Caracaras (Falconidae)


Mauritius Kestrel (Falco punctatus)


French: Crécerelle de Maurice German: Mauritiusfalke Spanish: Cernícalo de la Mauricio

Falco punctatus


, 1821,



Member of the F. tinnunculus group (see F. tinnunculus); considered probably closest to F. newtoni and F. araeus#R, and likely close also to extinct (since 17th century) †F. duboisi of Reunion I (known from bones and some anecdotal accounts). Monotypic.


Mauritius I, in WC Indian Ocean.

Descriptive notes

25–29 cm; male 123–178 g, female 173–231 g; wingspan 49–56 cm. A small, stout kestrel with relatively short, rounded wings, a long tail, and long... read more


Main call a repeated wavering whining squeal, “kreeeh” or “kyeeh”, c. 0·5 seconds long, used in... read more


Originally occupied evergreen forest with cliffs and gorges from sea-level to the highest peaks of... read more

Food and feeding

Mainly Phelsuma geckos, augmented with other lizards, small birds, insects such as dragonflies, a few mice and shrews. A radio-... read more


Laying Aug–Nov. Originally nested almost exclusively in holes in cliff faces or large trees, but recently induced to breed in... read more


No regular movements expected within the small island range aside from short-distance dispersal of... read more

Status and conservation

ENDANGERED. CITES I. Believed to have been common and widespread on Mauritius up until 19th century. Population declined in the 20th century, and by the 1930s and 1940s... read more

Recommended citation

Kemp, A.C., de Juana, E., Sharpe, C.J., Boesman, P. & Marks, J.S. (2020). Mauritius Kestrel (Falco punctatus). 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 23 February 2020).