Family Falcons, Caracaras (Falconidae)

Near Threatened

New Zealand Falcon (Falco novaeseelandiae)


French: Faucon de Nouvelle-Zélande German: Maorifalke Spanish: Halcón maorí

Falco novae-Seelandiae

J. F. Gmelin

, 1788,

Queen Charlotte Sound, New Zealand


Has in the past been placed in separate genus, Nesierax, or in Hieracidea with F. berigora, to which most closely related, but related also to other Australasian and Gondwanan hobbies. Form pottsi previously regarded as race or even separate species on basis of size and plumage characters, but differences related to age and sex. Species occurs as three morphologically and ecologically distinct populations, with separate distributions: “Bush form” (North I and NW South I) is generally smaller than “Eastern form” (open areas of most of South I), with “Southern form” (extreme SW South I, Stewart I, Auckland Is) intermediate#R; not formally recognized as races but, if found to be taxonomically distinct, names ferox and australis are available for, respectively, Bush and Southern forms#R. Currently treated as monotypic.


New Zealand: North I, South I, Stewart I (probably extinct#R) and Auckland Is.

Descriptive notes

36–48 cm; male 252–500 g, female 420–600 g; wingspan 66–91 cm. Medium-sized Falco, longish-tailed but distinctively short-winged for genus;... read more


Noisy around nest, especially in defence against intruders, giving a rapid, shrill "kek-kek-... read more


Forest and adjacent grassland, typically in mosaic of forest remnants (including pine plantations)... read more

Food and feeding

Mainly (80%) birds, now mostly introduced species (buntings, finches, larks and thrushes); sometimes small mammals (just 3% of items but... read more


Sept–Nov, sometimes Dec, and season may last until Feb. Solitary. Nest a simple scrape or depression in grassy soil of cliff face or... read more


Adult pairs sedentary, as evidenced by satellite-tracking of an adult female; juveniles dispersive... read more

Status and conservation

Not globally threatened. Currently considered Near Threatened. CITES II. Population declined through habitat destruction, persecution and effects of DDT, but now stable at c... read more

Recommended citation

Debus, S., Kirwan, G.M. & Christie, D.A. (2019). New Zealand Falcon (Falco novaeseelandiae). 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 15 December 2019).