Banded Kestrel (Falco zoniventris)

Banded Kestrel

[order] FALCONIFORMES | [family] Falconidae | [latin] Falco zoniventris | [authority] Peters, 1854 | [UK] Banded Kestrel | [FR] Faucon a ventre raye | [DE] Bindenfalke | [ES] Cernicalo Malgache | [NL] Gebandeerde Torenvalk


Genus Species subspecies Region Range
Falco zoniventris AF Madagascar


Members of the genus falco are mostly medium-sized falcons, but vary from the large peregrine falcon to the small American kestrel. The wings are long and pointed and used almost continuously during flight. The bill is short, powerful, and with a distinct ‘tooth’ on each side. Most falcons of this group have a black teardrop-shaped ‘mustache’ mark on each side of the head. Falcons are fastflying birds of open country and are famous for attaining high speeds as they dive from high altitudes to knock birds out of the air.

Physical charateristics

It is 27?30 cm long with a wingspan of 60?68 cm. The upperparts are grey and the tail is dark. The underparts are whitish with dark grey streaks on the throat and upper breast and dark grey barring on the lower breast and belly. The feet, eyes and cere are yellow and there is bare yellow skin around the eye. Juvenile birds are browner than the adults with darker eyes and less bare skin around the eye.

Listen to the sound of Banded Kestrel

[audio: Kestrel.mp3]

Copyright remark: Most sounds derived from xeno-canto

recorded by Charles Hesse

wingspan min.: 60 cm wingspan max.: 68 cm
size min.: 27 cm size max.: 30 cm
incubation min.: 0 days incubation max.: 0 days
fledging min.: 0 days fledging max.: 0 days
broods: 1   eggs min.: 2  
      eggs max.: 4  


Africa : Madagascar


Occurs in rainforest edges, forest clearings, secondary forest, and dry woodland up to 2,000 m, particularly favoring the spiny forest of the south. Often seen at the top of a dead stub above the forest, where it perches quietly for long periods. Also perches in the lower branches of a tree. Regarded as secretive and difficult to detect.


Nests in tree cavities at the base of epiphytes, in the stamped-out center of an epiphyte, or in the old nests of other species, e.g, Sickle-billed Vanga (Falculea palliata). Clutch size is three yellowish eggs. Nesting has been documented from September-December (Langrand 1990). Three nests were discovered on the Masoala Peninsula from 1995-1997. Courtship feeding observed at nest-sites.

Feeding habits

Feeds mainly on small birds, insects, and lizards (mostly chameleons), which it snatches in fast, swerving flight from the ground, tree trunks, and the lower branches of trees. In southeastern Madagascar, individuals would often be noted perched in tall baobabs or other trees with good vantage points, from which they would sally out and capture prey in the air.

Video Banded Kestrel


copyright: Herve Jacob


This species has a very large range, and hence does not approach the thresholds for Vulnerable under the range size criterion (Extent of Occurrence <20,000 km2 combined with a declining or fluctuating range size, habitat extent/quality, or population size and a small number of locations or severe fragmentation). The population trend appears to be stable, and hence the species does not approach the thresholds for Vulnerable under the population trend criterion (>30% decline over ten years or three generations). The population size may be small, but it is not believed to approach the thresholds for Vulnerable under the population size criterion (<10,000 mature individuals with a continuing decline estimated to be >10% in ten years or three generations, or with a specified population structure). For these reasons the species is evaluated as Least Concern.
Banded Kestrel status Least Concern


Non-migratory, but may show seasonal movements away from breeding territories in the wetter eastern region during the rainy season

Distribution map

Banded Kestrel distribution range map

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