The Nankeen Kestrel (Falco cenchroides) is a slender bird of prey found
in many parts of Australia. With brown or rufous colouring to the upper
parts of their body and a pale underbelly accentuated by black
streaks they are relatively easy to identify. Whilst modest in
size compared to other raptors found along the Southern Ocean Walk
such as the wedge tail and sea eagles they are striking none the less.
One of the hallmark characteristics of the Nankeen Kestrel is its superb
ability to hover using shallow wingbeats as though suspended in mid-air.
Once their quarry has been located they will plummet to a lower
altitude from which they can strike with great effect.
The exposed headlands of Deep Creek Conservation Park with pockets
of grassy areas are an ideal environment in which to sight these aerial acrobats.
They mainly feed on insects and small ground dwelling vertebrates
such as mice and reptiles. Nesting can take place in a variety of sites
ranging from abandoned nests left by other birds to tree hollows or caves.
Pairs of kestrels often stay together for successive breeding seasons
with typically one to three eggs in a clutch each year.