DISTRIBUTION: Was widely spread but now only found in remote rugged mountain country on the three main islands and the Auckland Islands.
HABITAT: A large range of habitat throughout alpine areas, but it prefers bush edge.
CALL: Chittering notes in courtship and squeals during disputes, but the most distinctive and frequent call is a sharp, ‘kek-kek-kek-kek-kek'.
BREEDING: Falcons generally do not build nests, and usually lay their eggs on the bare rock of a sheltered ledge on a cliff. Occasionally they make a crudely-formed nest in a dead tree or on the ground. 2-4 eggs are laid and guarded vigorously by both parents who share the incubation which takes 30-33 days.
FOOD: Active hunters feeding mainly on small birds although they can tackle birds up to the size of grey ducks and herons; they will also prey on animals ranging from reptiles to hares. Falcons will raid the nests of other birds and eat insects such as dragon flies and beetles caught on the wing.
GENERAL: New Zealand falcons have had full legal protection since 1970. However, many falcons are still shot. This prevents successful breeding in some areas. It is also unusually vulnerable to the residual effects of pesticides. Numbers appear to be declining with an estimated population of under 5000 pairs. Extremely active flyers who fiercely protect their territory. They can reach speeds of up to 200 km per hour.