Mauritius Kestrel

Falco punctatus

Photo: Dr. Philips Edwards

Mauritius Kestrel

Species Type: Bird
Species (Common Name): Mauritius kestrel, Crécerelle de Maurice
Scientific Name: Falco punctatus
Endemism: Mauritian Endemic
Conservation Status: Endangered

Description: The Mauritius kestrel is a small bird of prey belonging to the falcon family. It reaches about 30 cm in size and weights up to 250 grams. It has relatively short wings, a long tail and long legs with short talons. The upperparts are brown with black barring, and the underparts are white with dark spots. Male and female look alike but the males are smaller.

Fun facts:

  1. The Mauritius kestrel was once considered to be the rarest bird in the world with a wild population of only 4 known individuals in 1974.
  2. The recovery of the Mauritius kestrel from near extinction to an estimated 400 wild birds in 2011-2012 has been one of the greatest species recovery stories of all time.
  3. Species recovery work comprised of activities such as captive breeding, the protection of nests from predators, translocation, and supplementary feeding of wild birds.
  4. The kestrel nearly became extinct for a variety of reasons including habitat destruction, introduced invasive predators such as rats and the indiscriminate use of the pesticide DDT. Levels of DDT spraying in Mauritius were considerably reduced in the 1970s.