Spotted Kestrel (Falco moluccensis)

Spotted Kestrel

[order] FALCONIFORMES | [family] Falconidae | [latin] Falco moluccensis | [authority] Bonaparte, 1850 | [UK] Spotted Kestrel | [FR] Crecerelle des Moluques | [DE] Molukkenfalke | [ES] Cernicalo Moluqueno | [NL] Indische Torenvalk


Monotypic species


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

Very similar to Eurasian Kestrel but darker in plumage. Size difference between male and female is remarkedly smaller. Also paler underparts and ear-coverts greyer (race microbalia).

Listen to the sound of Spotted Kestrel

[audio: Kestrel.mp3]

Copyright remark: Most sounds derived from xeno-canto

recorded by van den Berg, Arnoud B

wingspan min.: 0 cm wingspan max.: 0 cm
size min.: 28 cm size max.: 33 cm
incubation min.: 0 days incubation max.: 0 days
fledging min.: 0 days fledging max.: 0 days
broods: 1   eggs min.: 3  
      eggs max.: 4  


Oriental Region, Australasia : Moluccas, Sulawesi, Lesser Sundas, Java and Bali


Inhabits Imperata grasslands with scattered trees, lightly wooded cultivation, and the edges of primary and tall secondary forest; also occasionally along logging roads penetrating forests, in clearings within forested areas, and in areas of human habitation, including towns


Nests on Sumba, Indonesia were in the crown of a palm tree, and another was purportedly in the high thatched, peaked roof of a traditonal house. Courting behavior was observed there during the dry season (June-July), and pairs were seen roosting together and mating at the beginning of the wet seasons.

Feeding habits

Feeds on small mammals, birds, lizards, and insects

Video Spotted Kestrel


copyright: Pieter de Groot Boersma


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 increasing, 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 moderately small to large, 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.
Spotted Kestrel status Least Concern


Presumed sedentary, vagrant to Borneo

Distribution map

Spotted Kestrel distribution range map

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