Mauritius kestrel Facts

Mauritius kestrel Facts
Mauritius kestrel is small bird of prey that belongs to the falcon family. It can be found only on Mauritius (island in the Indian Ocean). Mauritius kestrel inhabits subtropical evergreen forests, secondary forests and lightly wooded areas on the slopes. Introduction of new species of animals, intense deforestation and uncontrolled usage of pesticides led to drastic decline in the number of Mauritius kestrels in the wild. Thanks to huge conservation efforts and well-organized captive breeding programs, 4 Mauritius kestrels (that were left in the wild in 1974) managed to produce several new generations of birds. 331 captive-bred Mauritius kestrels were successfully re-introduced into the wild in 1991. Current population is stable and it consists of 400 to 500 birds. Mauritius kestrel is one of the rare birds that managed to survive nearly 100% guaranteed extinction and change conservation status from critically endangered to vulnerable.
Interesting Mauritius kestrel Facts:
Mauritius kestrel can reach 7 to 10 inches in length and 6 to 8 ounces of weight. Males are slightly smaller than females.
Mauritius kestrel has reddish brown plumage with dark markings on the upper side of the body. Creamy-white chest are covered with black spots. Males and females look alike.
Mauritius kestrel has small body with short, rounded wings, and long tail and legs with short talons.
Mauritius kestrel is diurnal bird (active during the day).
Mauritius kestrel is a carnivore (meat-eater). 90% of diet is based on small lizards such as gecko. Insects and small birds represent remaining 10%.
Mauritius kestrel is proficient in the air. It swiftly flies and maneuvers through dense vegetation to collect the prey from the trees or from the ground. Like other kestrels, Mauritius kestrel can hover (like helicopter) in the air while it inspects surroundings and searches suitable prey.
Mauritius kestrel is sedentary (non-migratory) bird.
Mongooses, rats and monkeys are the main predators of Mauritius kestrels in the wild.
Mauritius kestrels form monogamous pairs (mate with only one partner) during the mating season. Pair of birds occupies and defends their territory.
Mauritius kestrels communicate via "toee-tooee" and "tooit-tooit" calls.
Mauritius kestrels nest in the cavities of rocks on the cliffs. New generations of birds (introduced into the wild) learned to use man-made nest boxes on the trees.
Female lays 4 to 5 eggs usually from November to December. Eggs hatch after 38 to 39 days. Both parents collect food for their chicks.
Young Mauritius kestrels learn to fly at the age of 40 days. They share territory with their parents until the next breeding season (until they learn to hunt and survive completely on their own).
70 to 80% of the young birds die before they reach adulthood (barbed wires and windows are dangerous obstacles for the young birds, which are also targeted by numerous predators).
Mauritius kestrel can survive up to 15 years in the captivity.

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