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Dickinson's Kestrel
Falco dickinsoni

Status: Lower risk

Population Trend: Unknown.

Other Names: White-rumped Kestrel.

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Falco dickinsoni
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Distribution: Afrotropical. Southern DEMOCRATIC REPUBLIC OF THE CONGO east and south through ANGOLA, southern TANZANIA, ZAMBIA, MALAWI, and MOZAMBIQUE into northeastern NAMIBIA, northern BOTSWANA, and northern SOUTH AFRICA; PEMBA and ZANZIBAR ISLANDS. more....

Subspecies: Monotypic.

Taxonomy: Sometimes placed in the subgenus Dissodectes with F. ardosiaceus and F. zoniventris, its closest relatives. Forms a parapatric species pair with F. ardosiaceus,

Movements: Classified as non-migratory by Bildstein and Zalles (2005), but seasonal movements have been reported for Zimbabwe and Zambia (Aspinwall 1979, Irwin 1981, Hartley 1989), where peak numbers are recorded in winter. There may also be altitudinal movements in Zambia (Dowsett et al. 2008). Elsewhere in southern Africa, an influx from the north has been postulated (Harrison et al. 1997). This species is also subject to irruptive movements in Botswana, where it was about 10 times more common during the winter of 1994 than in earlier winters (Herremans and Herremans-Tonnoeyr 1994). A large amount of vagrancy also apparently occurs, judging from widely scattered reports far from the core range. more....

Habitat and Habits: Occurs in open areas, including grasslands and lightly wooded areas with exposed perches and sparse groundcover. Favors miombo (Brachystegia) woodland and is often found in association Hyphaene), or other palms. Spends more time on exposed perches in winter than in the breeding season, when it tends to perch more in hidden shady areas. Occurs singly or in pairs, often along roads. more....

Food and Feeding Behavior: Preys mainly on rodents, lizards, small birds, frogs, crustacea, and insects, which it captures on the ground after diving from an exposed perch or after an aerial pursuit. Unlike other kestrels, except for the Gray Kestrel, it does not hover. It is attracted to grassland or bush fires, where it hawks above the flames for insects and small animals that are flushed and sometimes follows farm equipment. more....

Breeding: In southern Africa, this species breeds in early summer, and eggs are laid from September-November (Irwin 1981, Tarboton et al. 1987). It nests in holes in baobab trees, the tops of dead Hyphaene or Borassus palm stumps, old Hammerkop nests, and on bridges. Clutch size is 2-4 eggs, which are typical of the genus, being cream-colored and heavily marked with smears, blotches, and spots of reddish and dark brown (Clancey 1985). As with other kestrels, incubation is by the female, and the male does the provisioning. more....

Conservation: Generally common within the core of its range. Although some palm habitat has probably been lost to elephants, particularly in the Okavango Delta, this is probably not of concern on a total population basis. Categorized as a species of "Least Concern" by BirdLife International. more....

Important References: 
Benn, G.A., and A.C. Kemp. 1995. Diet, home range, hunting and
  reproductive behaviour of a pair of Dickinson's Kestrel Falco dickinsoni in
  the Kruger National Park, South Africa. Ostrich 66:81-91.
Brown, L.H., E.K. Urban, and K. Newman. 1982. The birds of Africa. Vol. 1.
  Academic Press, London.
Cade, T.J. 1982. Falcons of the world. Cornell University Press, Ithaca,
Ferguson-Lees, J., and D.A. Christie. 2001. Raptors of the world. Houghton
  Mifflin, Boston, MA.
Harrison, J.A., D.G. Allan, L.G. Underhill, M. Herremans, A.J. Tree, V.
  Parker, and C.J. Brown.
1997. The atlas of South African birds. Volume 1:
  Non-passerines. BirdLife South Africa and Avian Demography
  Unit, Johannesburg, South Africa.
Kemp, A.C. 1994. Dickinson's Kestrel. P. 262 in del Hoyo, J., A. Elliott,
  and J. Sargatal (eds). Handbook of birds of the world. Vol. 2. New World
  vultures to guineafowl. Lynx Edicions, Barcelona, Spain.
Steyn, P. 1982. Birds of prey of southern Africa: their identification and
  life histories. David Phillip, Cape Town, South Africa.
Tarboton, W.R., and D.G. Allan. 1984. The status and conservation of birds
  of prey in the Transvaal. Transvaal Museum Monograph no. 3. Transvaal
  Museum, Pretoria, South Africa.

Sites of Interest:
Contains original information and nice photos.

Last modified: 6/12/2012

Recommended Citation: Global Raptor Information Network. 2021. Species account: Dickinson's Kestrel Falco dickinsoni. Downloaded from http://www.globalraptors.org on 18 May. 2021

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