Rock kestrel

Rock kestrel

Rock kestrel

4 languages
Falco rupicolus

The rock kestrel (Falco rupicolus ) is a bird of prey species belonging to the kestrel group of the falcon family Falconidae. It was previously considered a subspecies of the common kestrel (Falco tinnunculus ).

Show More

This species occurs in Africa, from northwestern Angola and southern Democratic Republic of Congo to southern Tanzania, and south to South Africa.

Show Less


A slender, medium-sized kestrel, between 30 and 33 centimeters tall. Adult male kestrels weigh between 183g and 254g, while females weigh between 190g and 280g.



The species occurs from Angola, south through the Democratic Republic of Congo as well as Tanzania, further south to South Africa, and in most of the places between. Noticeable places of scarcity include north and north east Namibia, Botswana, south Mozambique and tropical Lowveld, while in Zimbabwe it is restricted to high-lying central and eastern regions. The kestrel is usually associated with arid areas, but may also be found in open and/or semi-arid areas.

Habits and Lifestyle

Bird's call

Diet and Nutrition

Mating Habits

Rock kestrels usually nest in either old stick nests or on cliffs, where they may make a depression in the sand. They have also been observed utilizing buildings, but this appears to be unusual. Clutch sizes vary between 1 and 6 eggs. The female incubates the eggs full-time while the male sources food. After 26 to 32 days the chicks hatch. Chicks will remain in the nest for a further 31 to 39 days post hatching. Thereafter they leave the nest, but often remain in the vicinity for several weeks. Breeding density varies across habitats however a study in Namibia noted values of between 19.1 and 28.9 pairs per 100 square kilometers.


Population number

The rock kestrel is common in many protected areas, and as a result is not threatened.


1. Rock kestrel Wikipedia article -
2. Xeno-canto bird call -

More Fascinating Animals to Learn About