New Zealand Falcon Falco
novaeseelandiae FAMILY: Falconidae
Endemic and fully protected. About
half the size of the Harrier, with the females
being much larger than the males. The eye
skin, cere and legs and feet are yellow in the adult
and lead-grey in the immature bird. Immature
birds are generally dark black-brown above and chocolate-brown
below. They have a piercing whistle
or scream 'Kek-kek-kek'. NZ Falcon are found
throughout NZ in native bush and isolated high back-country
valleys, sometimes appearing small towns. Food
includes birds up to duck size and small mammals like
mice. Breeding is from October to November
and the nest is of sticks or grass on steep slopes with
overhanging rocks or in high trees. The
eggs, 2-4, are a rich reddish-brown with darker blotches.
The female only incubates. Incubation
and fledging takes almost 3 months.
size Male: 230-260mm Female: 265-305mm. 4th Primary
wing feather is the longest. Egg: 45 - 51.8 x
34.2- 37.4mm Tail Male:
164-195mm Female:195-229mm. Tarsus:
Male 55-58mm Female: 60-62mm The
bill is toothed and the feet featherless. The
wing is long and sickle shaped when in flight. The
feathers of the falcon were worn by Maori warriors as
a sign of bravery.
Ninox novaeseelandiae FAMILY:
and also found in Australia and New Guinea. Fully
protected. Nocturnal and
usually heard rather than seen. Their call
is a clear 'quor-coo' with a falling second syllable.
They also have a harsh and vibrating schreech.
Found throughout NZ in native bush and introduced
forest, parks and gardens. They feed on
moths and insects, mice, rats, lizards and small birds.
They can often be seen at dusk sitting on
a prominent perch or 'hawking' for food. Breeding
is from October to November and the nest is usually
in hollow trees or dense clumps of vegetation. They
rarely nest in the open. The eggs, 2-3,
are white. Only the female incubates and
cares for the young.
HARRIER / Kahu
Harrier Circus approximans FAMILY:
and also in Australia and the SW Pacific. Fully
protected. This is a large bird
of prey and when in flight often soar with the wings
tipped upward making a broad, fingered 'vee' image.
Young birds are dark chocolate brown with
white rump and back of neck patch, while adults are
lighter with some old males appearing almost white with
silvery-grey wings. Harrier are common throughout
NZ except in heavily forested areas and alpine areas.
Usually seen singly or in pairs, and sometimes
flocking at night roosts in swamps. Food
consists of small animals and birds, insects, lizards,
carrion, and road kills on which they often feed.
Breeding is from October to
December and the nest is a platform of tussock and small
sticks on the ground, mainly in swamps and scrub areas.
The eggs, usually 4, are chalky-white.
Kestrel Falco cenchroides FAMILY:
visitor to NZ from Australia and New Guinea and recorded
with increasing frequency in NZ since 1889. Smaller
than the NZ Falcon, with a cinnamon-brown back and pale
undersides. They have a habit of 'hovering'
in flight against the wind while searching the ground
for food. Nankeen Kestrels hunt only over
open country, especially paddocks. They
feed in flight and on the ground on birds, lizards,
insects and small mammals. They breed in
Australia from September to December. The
nest is high in a tree, of twigs, lined with leaves,
or sometimes the deserted nest of another bird. The
eggs, 3-7, are buff coloured with many blotches of brownish-red.
Only the female incubates.
Owl Athene noctua FAMILY:
from Germany to Otago in 1906. Partially
protected. Smaller and lighter in
colour than the Morepork. The Little Owl
is diurnal and can be seen flying and hunting during
the day. It has a dipping flight with rounded
head and wings. Found in the South Island
except for mountain ranges, in open country and forest
edges. They can often be seen sitting on
fence posts. They feed on mice, insects,
lizards, worms and sometimes small birds. Breeding
is from September to December. The nest,
of no material, is in hollow trees or holes in banks
or buildings and sometimes in deserted rabbit burrows.
The eggs, 2-5, are round and pure white.