Overview

Brief Summary

Biology

This bird of prey feeds mainly on geckos and skinks, but also consumes insects, small birds and mice. It hunts from the vantage point of a perch, and snatches its prey from tree trunks, branches, foliage or from the ground (2). The Seychelles kestrel only lays one brood each year, generally from August to October (7). The Seychelles kestrel does not build a nest, but lays its eggs on cliffs high above sea level, in tree holes or on building ledges. It also sometimes uses the abandoned nests of the introduced common myna (Acridotheres tristis) (2). Two to three eggs are laid at a time of increased food abundance, and after an incubation period of around 30 days, the young appear in the nest when food availability is at a maximum (7), giving the chicks the best possible start in life. Both the common myna and another introduced species, the black rat, prey on the nests of Seychelles kestrels (2), and despite the parents' efforts to defend the territory and nest, not all chicks will reach fledging at 38 days of age (7).
Creative Commons Attribution Non Commercial Share Alike 3.0 (CC BY-NC-SA 3.0)

© Wildscreen

Source: ARKive

Trusted

Article rating from 0 people

Default rating: 2.5 of 5

Description

The Seychelles kestrel, the only day-flying raptor in the central Seychelles (4), is a small falcon with dark reddish-brown plumage on the upperparts. The head is a dark grey, and the underparts are buffy. The female is slightly paler than the male, and young Seychelles kestrels have streaked and spotted underparts. The Seychelles kestrel is agile in flight and has a relatively long tail (2).
Creative Commons Attribution Non Commercial Share Alike 3.0 (CC BY-NC-SA 3.0)

© Wildscreen

Source: ARKive

Trusted

Article rating from 0 people

Default rating: 2.5 of 5

Comprehensive Description

Description

Endemic, very small, rufous-and-buff falcon.

Creative Commons Attribution Non Commercial Share Alike 3.0 (CC BY-NC-SA 3.0)

© 2011, BirdLife International

Supplier: Afrotropical birds in the RMCA

Trusted

Article rating from 0 people

Default rating: 2.5 of 5

Distribution

Range

Locally in Seychelles.
  • Clements, J. F., T. S. Schulenberg, M. J. Iliff, D. Roberson, T. A. Fredericks, B. L. Sullivan, and C. L. Wood. 2014. The eBird/Clements checklist of birds of the world: Version 6.9. Downloaded from http://www.birds.cornell.edu/clementschecklist/download/

Trusted

Article rating from 0 people

Default rating: 2.5 of 5

Range Description

Falco araeus is found on the granitic islands of the Seychelles, with a total of c.420-430 pairs in 2008, the majority on Mahé (plus a few on its satellite island, Watson 2000a, Pandolfi and Barilari 2009), 40-50 pairs on Silhouette, and a few pairs on Praslin and Ile du Nord. There are frequent records from La Digue but no recent evidence of breeding (N.J. Shah and S. Parr in litt. 1999, A. Skerrett in litt. 1999). At least one pair has also been heard on Félicité (Shah and Parr in prep.). Considerable development and habitat alteration have taken place on Mahé since 2002, suggesting that a population increase since then is unlikely, and that a decline could have occurred (N. Doak in litt. 2007). Genetic analysis suggests that the global population underwent a crash some time between 1940 and the early 1970s, and at one time numbered as few as eight (3.5-22) individuals, which is compatible with claims that there were fewer than 30 birds on Mahé during the 1960s (Groombridge et al. 2009).

Creative Commons Attribution Non Commercial Share Alike 3.0 (CC BY-NC-SA 3.0)

© International Union for Conservation of Nature and Natural Resources

Source: IUCN

Trusted

Article rating from 0 people

Default rating: 2.5 of 5

Seychelles (Islands in the W Indian Ocean)

Creative Commons Attribution Non Commercial Share Alike 3.0 (CC BY-NC-SA 3.0)

© Lack 2010

Supplier: Afrotropical birds in the RMCA

Trusted

Article rating from 0 people

Default rating: 2.5 of 5

Range

Occurs on the islands of the Seychelles, in the West Indian Ocean (2). It is found on Mahé and its satellite islands, Silhouette and Praslin. Recent surveys, (around 2003), found just four pairs of kestrels on Praslin. The Seychelles kestrel also occurs on La Digue and North, but apparently does not breed on either island, and at least one pair has been heard on the island of Félicité (2) (5) (6).
Creative Commons Attribution Non Commercial Share Alike 3.0 (CC BY-NC-SA 3.0)

© Wildscreen

Source: ARKive

Trusted

Article rating from 0 people

Default rating: 2.5 of 5

Ecology

Habitat

Habitat and Ecology

Habitat and Ecology
It inhabits native, evergreen, upland forests, but is now found in secondary rainforest and coconut plantations on Mahé. It hunts indigenous lizards (mainly geckos Phelsuma spp.) (G. Rocamora in litt. 2007), insects, small birds and mice (Watson 1981, Watson 1992). Nesting is predominantly on cliffs above 200 m, and less successfully - probably due to predation (Watson 1992) -at lower elevations on buildings, in holes in trees and in old Common Myna Acridotheres tristis nests (Loustau-Lalanne 1962). Small territories are occupied year-round, but only one brood is reared per year (Watson 2000a).


Systems
  • Terrestrial
Creative Commons Attribution Non Commercial Share Alike 3.0 (CC BY-NC-SA 3.0)

© International Union for Conservation of Nature and Natural Resources

Source: IUCN

Trusted

Article rating from 0 people

Default rating: 2.5 of 5

Dense forest and more open areas

Creative Commons Attribution Non Commercial Share Alike 3.0 (CC BY-NC-SA 3.0)

© Lack 2010

Supplier: Afrotropical birds in the RMCA

Trusted

Article rating from 0 people

Default rating: 2.5 of 5

The original habitat of the Seychelles kestrel is woodland at all altitudes (6). It is now also found in secondary forest, cultivated areas, (such as coconut plantations), and even open urban areas (2) (5).
Creative Commons Attribution Non Commercial Share Alike 3.0 (CC BY-NC-SA 3.0)

© Wildscreen

Source: ARKive

Trusted

Article rating from 0 people

Default rating: 2.5 of 5

Dispersal

Movements and dispersal

Resident

Creative Commons Attribution Non Commercial Share Alike 3.0 (CC BY-NC-SA 3.0)

© Lack 2010

Supplier: Afrotropical birds in the RMCA

Trusted

Article rating from 0 people

Default rating: 2.5 of 5

Conservation

Conservation Status

IUCN Red List Assessment


Red List Category
VU
Vulnerable

Red List Criteria
B1ab(iii,v);C2a(i);D1

Version
3.1

Year Assessed
2014

Assessor/s
BirdLife International

Reviewer/s
Butchart, S.

Contributor/s
Doak, N., Lucking, R., Parr, S., Rocamora, G., Shah, N. & Skerrett, A.

Justification
This species is listed as Vulnerable because it has a very small population and range and there have been recent declines in one subpopulation. It was far more widespread in the nineteenth century, with birds frequently seen on most islands. This range contraction may have resulted from widespread persecution in the past.


History
  • 2012
    Vulnerable
Creative Commons Attribution Non Commercial Share Alike 3.0 (CC BY-NC-SA 3.0)

© International Union for Conservation of Nature and Natural Resources

Source: IUCN

Trusted

Article rating from 0 people

Default rating: 2.5 of 5

Vulnerable

Creative Commons Attribution Non Commercial Share Alike 3.0 (CC BY-NC-SA 3.0)

© 2011, BirdLife International

Supplier: Afrotropical birds in the RMCA

Trusted

Article rating from 0 people

Default rating: 2.5 of 5

Status

Classified as Vulnerable (VU) by the IUCN Red List (1), and listed on Appendix I of CITES (3).
Creative Commons Attribution Non Commercial Share Alike 3.0 (CC BY-NC-SA 3.0)

© Wildscreen

Source: ARKive

Trusted

Article rating from 0 people

Default rating: 2.5 of 5

Population

Population
A combination of survey results and records (S. Parr in litt. 1999) can be used to deduce a total population of at least 800 individuals, roughly equivalent to 530 mature individuals.

Population Trend
Stable
Creative Commons Attribution Non Commercial Share Alike 3.0 (CC BY-NC-SA 3.0)

© International Union for Conservation of Nature and Natural Resources

Source: IUCN

Trusted

Article rating from 0 people

Default rating: 2.5 of 5

Threats

Major Threats
Reduced numbers in the 1960s and 1970s may have been due to pesticide use or to peaks in commercial cinnamon cultivation and logging, which reduced upland forest to its lowest extent at this time (N.J. Shah and S. Parr in litt. 1999). Introduced nest predators, nest-site competitors and food competitors may be an ongoing threat (Loustau-Lalanne 1962, Watson 1992, A. Skerrett in litt. 1999). Housing development could be a threat (Rocamora 1997a), although the species breeds in urban areas (N.J. Shah and S. Parr in litt. 1999). Fires, and possibly housing developments and alien predators, have nearly halved its population on Praslin in 10 years (S. Parr in litt. 1999, Millett et al. 2003).

Creative Commons Attribution Non Commercial Share Alike 3.0 (CC BY-NC-SA 3.0)

© International Union for Conservation of Nature and Natural Resources

Source: IUCN

Trusted

Article rating from 0 people

Default rating: 2.5 of 5

Traditionally, people have thought of the Seychelles kestrel as unlucky, and have even killed it, but today it is protected by law (4). The number of Seychelles kestrels declined in the 1960s and 1970s, probably due to pesticide use and the reduction of forest habitat as a result of logging and agriculture (5). Today, further loss of forest habitat could be a threat, but the Seychelles kestrel has proved capable of breeding in urban and agricultural areas. Introduced species that prey on chicks, or compete for food and nesting sites, are a potential continuing threat (5). The vulnerability of this species to the impact of such threats can be seen on Praslin Island, where fires, and possibly housing developments and alien predators, have nearly halved the population in ten years (5).
Creative Commons Attribution Non Commercial Share Alike 3.0 (CC BY-NC-SA 3.0)

© Wildscreen

Source: ARKive

Trusted

Article rating from 0 people

Default rating: 2.5 of 5

Management

Conservation Actions

Conservation Actions
Conservation Actions Underway
CITES Appendix I and II. The Morne Seychellois National Park on Mahé covers almost 25% of the island and provides a safe refuge (N.J. Shah and S. Parr in litt. 1999). The species was reintroduced to Praslin in 1977 (Watson 1981). Nature Seychelles is presently introducing predator-proof nest boxes on Praslin and initiating awareness campaigns through the Wildlife Clubs of Seychelles (Millett et al. 2003).

Conservation Actions Proposed
Research factors influencing its density (N.J. Shah and S. Parr in litt. 1999) and population dynamics (Rocamora 1997a). Investigate the effect of urbanisation (Rocamora 1997a). Continue nest protection and awareness campaign on Praslin (Millett et al. 2003). Continue habitat protection on Mahé (Rocamora 1997a), possibly through extension of the Morne Seychellois National Park (G. Rocamora in litt. 1999). Control Barn Owls Tyto alba and rats around nesting sites on Praslin (Rocamora 1997a). Ensure no return to widespread pesticide use (N.J. Shah and S. Parr in litt. 1999). Assess translocation possibilities (R. Lucking in litt. 1999). Raise public awareness of the species's value, and the need to protect nest-sites in buildings; particularly on Praslin (Rocamora 1997a, N.J. Shah and S. Parr in litt. 1999, Millett et al. 2003). Resume long term monitoring (G. Rocamora in litt. 2007).

Creative Commons Attribution Non Commercial Share Alike 3.0 (CC BY-NC-SA 3.0)

© International Union for Conservation of Nature and Natural Resources

Source: IUCN

Trusted

Article rating from 0 people

Default rating: 2.5 of 5

Conservation

The majority of surviving kestrels live on Mahé (approximately 450 pairs as of 2008) (6), where almost a quarter of the land is protected by the Morne Seychellois National Park (5), providing a safe refuge for a large number of birds. A significant population is also present on Silhouette island (approximately 50 pairs (8)), which is shortly to become a National Park (6). Attempts are being made to increase the population on Praslin through measures such as introducing predator-proof nest boxes and initiating awareness campaigns (5). If efforts continue, and the aim is achieved, this would reduce the threat of extinction and allow the reclassification of the Seychelles kestrel from Vulnerable to Near Threatened (4).
Creative Commons Attribution Non Commercial Share Alike 3.0 (CC BY-NC-SA 3.0)

© Wildscreen

Source: ARKive

Trusted

Article rating from 0 people

Default rating: 2.5 of 5

Wikipedia

Seychelles kestrel

The Seychelles kestrel (Falco araea) is a small bird of prey belonging to the genus Falco in the falcon family, Falconidae. It is endemic to the Seychelles Islands where it is the only breeding bird of prey. It is known in Seychellois Creole as the katiti after its loud, shrill call.

Description[edit]

It is the smallest of the kestrels, 18–23 cm long with a wingspan of 40–45 cm. The wings are fairly short and rounded. The adult male's upperparts are reddish brown with black spots while the underparts are unspotted and buff. The head and rump are dark blue-grey. The tail is blue-grey with black bars. The bill is dark and the feet and cere are yellow. Females are similar to the males in appearance but are a little larger and paler. Immature birds have a brown, streaked head, spots on the breast and a buff tip to the tail.

Ecology[edit]

It can be seen in forest, scrub and farmland and around rock faces and houses. It rarely hovers, instead feeding by sitting on an exposed perch and waiting for prey to pass, then swooping down to catch it. Lizards, particularly green day geckos (Phelsuma) and skinks (Mabuya), make up 92% of its diet and it will also take small birds, frogs, rats and insects.

The breeding territory covers just 40 hectares, the smallest of any bird of prey. Breeding occurs from August to October. The nest site is on a cliff, tree or building. It is a simple scrape with no nest material used. Two or three eggs are laid; they are white with brown markings and are incubated for 28–31 days. The young birds fledge after 35–42 days and then remain with their parents for another 14 weeks.

Conservation[edit]

The species has a population of about 800 birds and is classified as vulnerable. Lowland nests have a high failure rate of about 70-80%. It probably bred throughout the granitic central Seychelles in the past but is currently known to breed only on Mahé, Silhouette, North Island, Praslin and some small adjacent islands. It was reintroduced to Praslin in 1977.

Threats are thought to include habitat loss due to logging, housing development and fires as well as predation and competition by introduced species. Rats, cats and barn owls have reduced the lizard population on which the kestrels depend and they may take eggs and chicks. Barn owls and common mynas have occupied many suitable nest sites.

Persecution by humans is now rare. In the past, kestrels were killed because they were thought to take chickens and because they were considered to be an omen of death.

References[edit]

  • BirdLife International (2007) Species factsheet: Falco araea. Downloaded from http://www.birdlife.org on 30/7/2007.
  • Ferguson-Lees, James & Christie, David A. (2001) Raptors of the World, Christopher Helm, London.
  • Penny, Malcolm (1974) The Birds of Seychelles and the Outlying Islands, Collins, London.
  • Skerrett, Adrian; Bullock, Ian & Disley, Tony (2001) Birds of Seychelles, Christopher Helm, London.
Creative Commons Attribution Share Alike 3.0 (CC BY-SA 3.0)

Source: Wikipedia

Unreviewed

Article rating from 0 people

Default rating: 2.5 of 5

Disclaimer

EOL content is automatically assembled from many different content providers. As a result, from time to time you may find pages on EOL that are confusing.

To request an improvement, please leave a comment on the page. Thank you!