• Kestrel 


Scientific name
Falco tinnunculus canariensis (Koeing, 1889)

Taxonomic Status
Endemic Subspecies of Macaronesia

Red Data Book Status
Least Concern

    • Available tours to watch this bird 

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  • Identification

Kestrel is medium-small size hawk, and the plumage ranges between grey to brown. The specie presents sexual dimorphism, in males the rump and tail are bluish grey and unbarred, while in females its brownish-red with dark barring.  Another distinctive characteristic is the head that in males is grey and in the females brown. 

  • Voice

A high-pitched 'kee-kee-kee”

  • Ecology

This bird nests in small ledges on ravines, trees and buildings. Normally they lay a clutch of 3 to 7 eggs that hatch between 26 to 34 days.
The kestrel is a diurnal hunter that spends great part of their time perching and resting while the time that they normally spend in flight is when hunting or during courtship.
Their diet is composed by small mammals such as rats and mice.However they also feed on amphibians and reptiles.

  • Distribution

In the Madeira archipelago it’s only found on the islands of Madeira and Porto Santo. Until 1996 it was breeding specie on the Desertas Islands and there are some records on the Selvagens. The canariensis subspecies is restricted to the archipelagos of Canaries and Madeira.


The average lifespan of this specie is around 16 years.


  • Kestrel Sightings


May 2010, Funchal - Madeira Island © Birds & Company



September 2013, Ponta São Lourenço - Madeira Island © Birds & Company


February 2013, Funchal - Madeira Island © Roberto Moritz

  • Literature

[1] Fagundes, A.I., Nunes, J. & Ferreira, J. (2007) Atlas das Aves Nidificantes do Parque Ecológico do Funchal. Município do Funchal. Funchal

[2] Ferguson-Lees, J., D. Christie. 2001. Raptors of the World. Boston: Houghton Mifflin. 

[3] Mullarney, Killian; Svensson, Lars; Zetterstrom, Dan; Grant, Peter (1999). Collins Bird Guide. London: Collins. 

[4] Oliveira, P & Menezes, D. (2004) Aves do Arquipélago da Madeira. Serviço do Parque Natural da Madeira. Funchal.


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