The Mauritius kestrel is a bird of prey endemic to the forests of Mauritius, where it is restricted to the southwestern plateau’s forests, cliffs, and ravines. It is the most distinct of the Indian Ocean kestrels. Being the only falcon species found on the island, the Mauritius kestrel is easily recognised in the wildlife of Mauritius. Measuring a small 20 to 26 cm in length, and weighs between 170 to 230 grams. It features black blotching on its otherwise white underpants. Its wings are chestnut in colour with black crescent markings. 90% of there diet is based on small lizards such as geckos. Insects and small birds represent the remaining 10%.
The Mauritius Kestrel was once regarded as the world’s rarest bird. It suffered from the loss of it’ habitat, plus the introduction of monkeys and mongooses which ate its eggs, hunting as a pest, and the widespread spraying of DDT.
The recovery from almost-extinction of the Mauritius kestrel is considered to be as one of the greatest raptor conservation programs in the world. The Mauritius kestrel had a population of only 4 individuals in the wild in 1974. Today, it is estimated that its population is around 800 to 1000 individual birds. The status of the Mauritius kestrel though is still vulnerable. and their numbers are constantly monitored. The techniques used in the programme had been successfully put in to practice in conservation projects for other Mauritian birds, particularly the Pink Pigeon.
Found in subtropical evergreen forests, secondary forests and lightly wooded areas on the slopes. They nest in the cavities of rocks on the cliffs. New generations of the kestrels have learned to use man-made nest boxes located in the trees.
Vallée de Ferney is a private nature reserve in the South East of Mauritius, dedicated to the preservation of rare wildlife species. A project at the forefront of some unique conservation drives. This is where you will find Kestrel Valley and have the chance to spot these rare birds.
Contact us today to book your holiday to Mauritius and the chance to see the Mauritius Kestrel.