Family Falcons, Caracaras (Falconidae)


Seychelles Kestrel (Falco araeus)


French: Crécerelle des Seychelles German: Seychellenfalke Spanish: Cernícalo de las Seychelles

Cerchneis araea


, 1917,



Member of the F. tinnunculus group (which see); considered closest to F. newtoni and probably close also to F. punctatus#R. Monotypic.


Islands of Seychelles, in W Indian Ocean. On Mahé and its satellites (St Anne, Cerf, Longue and probably Thérèse), Silhouette I and North I; reintroduced to Praslin. Non-breeding visitor to La Digue and Félicité#R; and historically on Curieuse, Marianne and possibly Sisters.

Descriptive notes

15–24 cm; male averages 73 g, female 88 g; wingspan 44–47 cm. A very small, slim-bodied falcon (the smallest Falco) with a very dark grey head and rump,... read more


In breeding season considered to be relatively vocal, uttering thin, loud and fast "ki-ki-ki... read more


Dense secondary forest with crags, the degraded original habitat on these hilly granitic islands;... read more

Food and feeding

Mainly lizards, especially Mabuya skinks and Phelsuma geckos, but the diet includes insects, small birds, mice, rats,... read more


Laying Aug–Oct (>80% of pairs initiate clutches between 1 Sept and 15 Oct), with season extending to Jan. Nests in cavities,... read more


No movement expected within the restricted island habitats, except for some dispersion between... read more

Status and conservation

VULNERABLE. CITES I. Previously considered not globally threatened. Range contracted from seven islands to two between 1880s and 1970s. Total population estimated at 420... read more

Recommended citation

Kemp, A.C. & Kirwan, G.M. (2020). Seychelles Kestrel (Falco araeus). 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 19 January 2020).