Falcon (New Zealand) Falco novaeseelandiae
Species: F. novaeseelandiae
Binomial name: Falco novaeseelandiae
Common name: New Zealand Falcon, Kārearea, Bush Hawk, Sparrow Hawk.
Falco novaeseelandiae is New Zealand's only endemic falcon and the only remaining bird of prey endemic to New Zealand. Unlike harriers which can be seen gorging on road kill, Falco novaeseelandiae catches it prey alive.
It has a wingspan of about 45 cm and its weight rarely exceeding 450g. It is capable of flying at speeds over 200 km/h and catching prey larger than itself.
The falcon has a wide distribution, being found on both the North and South Islands and several offshore islands, including Stewart Island and the subantarctic Auckland Islands where a small population. It is mainly found in heavy bush and the steep high country.
Although protected since 1970, it is considered to be a vulnerable species.
It nests in a scrape (the simplest of nest construction) in grassy soil or humus in various locations: under a rock on a steep slope or on a rock ledge, among epiphytic plants on a tree branch, or under a log or branch on the ground, making the two or three eggs that they lay vulnerable to predators such as stray cats, stoats, weasels, possum, and wild dogs.
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Photographed at Zealandia, Wellington.
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