Helping preserve our native wildlife
Scientific Field Study
NZFM contributed to the NZ Falcon study undertaken by Dr Richard Seaton. The NZ Falcon study is particularly interesting to the forestry industry as it has been found that the falcon preferably inhabits forest clear-cut areas.
Mr Seaton visited Lake Taupo Forest and surveyed recently clearfelled areas within the forest to establish if any birds were nesting in the area. The results of the research will help NZFM to manage the forests to best protect NZ Falcons where they are present within the forest in the future.
How to identify a NZ Falcon (Karearea)
Key points for distinguishing between a NZ Falcon and an Australasian Harrier are listed below.
Black-backed gull size
The falcon is smaller: Dark and fast. Black above – buff barred and streaked below. Brown eyes. Long toes (talons).
The Harrier is larger: Juvenile dark brown. Gets paler with age. Light rump, streaked light brown to pale/grey silver. Yellow eyes and long legs.
Falcons fly fast – displays a rapid wing beat.
Harrier slower flight characteristic often flap-glide-flap appearance.
Falcon position wings flat for short time
Harriers have wings held in shallow ‘ v ’ for lengthy periods.
Falcons are very fast – stoops. Chases smaller birds.
Harriers searches slowly into wind. Quarters open country. Drops on prey.
Falcon eats small birds, They do not eat carrion.
Harriers eat mammals, eats carrion.
Bird Song / Call
Falcon Calls are rapid, piercing Kek-kek-kek
Harriers are generally silent and possess a plaintive Kee-a
Remember: If you see a NZ Falcon in the forests please let your supervisor know. If you can, note down where you saw it and what it was doing – flying, hunting, perching etc.