New Zealand Falcon Falco novaeseelandiae


Taxonomic source(s)
del Hoyo, J., Collar, N.J., Christie, D.A., Elliott, A. and Fishpool, L.D.C. 2014. HBW and BirdLife International Illustrated Checklist of the Birds of the World. Volume 1: Non-passerines. Lynx Edicions BirdLife International, Barcelona, Spain and Cambridge, UK.
Turbott, E.G. 1990. Checklist of the Birds of New Zealand. Ornithological Society of New Zealand, Wellington.

IUCN Red list criteria met and history
Red List criteria met
Critically Endangered Endangered Vulnerable
- - -

Red List history
Year Category Criteria
2022 Least Concern
2016 Near Threatened C2a(i)
2012 Near Threatened C2a(i)
2010 Near Threatened C2a(i)
2008 Near Threatened C2a(i)
2004 Near Threatened
2000 Lower Risk/Near Threatened
1994 Lower Risk/Near Threatened
1988 Near Threatened
Species attributes

Migratory status not a migrant Forest dependency Low
Land mass type Average mass -

Estimate Data quality
Extent of Occurrence breeding/resident (km2) 530,000 medium
Number of locations -
Severely Fragmented -
Population and trend
Value Data quality Derivation Year of estimate
No. of mature individuals 5000-15000 poor suspected 2021
Population trend Stable suspected -
Decline (3 years/1 generation past) - - -
Decline (5 years/1 generation past) - - -
Decline (10 years/1 generation past) - - -
Decline (10 years/3 generation future) - - -
Decline (10 years/3 generation past and future) - - -
Number of subpopulations 1 - - -
Percentage in largest subpopulation 100 - - -
Generation length (yrs) 4.5 - - -

Population justification: The species is often divided into three forms (although it is taxonomically considered monotypic herein): 'Bush', 'Southern' and 'Eastern' (Marchant and Higgins 1993). Population estimates by Fox (1978) are as follows: 'Bush' form (North Island and north-west South Island) 450-850 pairs; 'Southern' form (south-west coast of South Island and Auckland Islands) 140-270 pairs; and 'Eastern' form (of the remainder of South Island) 3,100-3,200. Thus the population was then estimated at 7,400-8,800 mature individuals. No more recent estimate has been made and since this time some populations have declined and/or recovered in ways that introduce considerable uncertainty to data more than 40 years on. For these reasons, the population is now suspected to number 5,000-15,000 mature individuals.

Trend justification: F. novaeseelandiae formerly declined because of habitat destruction, persecution and the effects of DDT. However, it has been comparatively tolerant of pervasive habitat modification throughout New Zealand, breeding successfully in plantations and feeding principally on non-native birds and mammals (Marchant and Higgins 1993, Ferguson-Lees and Christie 2001, Seaton 2009). Some populations have been recorded declining (Gaze and Hutzler 2004) and the species has apparently become extinct on Stewart Island (Bell 2017). The 'Bush' form is listed nationally as 'Nationally Increasing' (Robertson et al. 2021; according to criteria established by Townsend et al. 2008), indicating that the species has formerly declined (within the last 1,000 years) but now has an ongoing or predicted increase of >10% (in population size or area of occupancy) over the next three generations. The 'Eastern' form, which was previously thought to be increasing, is now listed as 'Nationally Vulnerable' due to its small, stable population which is predicted to remain stable over the next three generations. The 'Southern' form (comprising <5% of the global population) is thought to number less than 1,000 mature individuals and is therefore listed as 'Nationally Endangered,' however under criteria (sensu Townsend et al. 2008) that indicate that the small population is stable and predicted to remain stable over the next three generations. The quality of these data are however poor (Robertson et al. 2021) and require confirmation. The global population of F. novaeseelandiae is precautionarily therefore suspected to be stable, however may be increasing.

Country/territory distribution
Country/Territory Occurrence status Presence Resident Breeding Non-breeding Passage
New Zealand N Extant Yes

Important Bird and Biodiversity Areas (IBA)
Country/Territory IBA Name
New Zealand Auckland Islands
New Zealand Upper Buller

Habitats & altitude
Habitat (level 1) Habitat (level 2) Importance Occurrence
Artificial/Terrestrial Pastureland suitable resident
Artificial/Terrestrial Plantations major resident
Forest Temperate major resident
Grassland Temperate suitable resident
Shrubland Temperate suitable resident
Altitude 0 - 1500 m Occasional altitudinal limits (max) 2100 m

Threats & impact
Threat (level 1) Threat (level 2) Impact and Stresses
Biological resource use Hunting & trapping terrestrial animals - Persecution/control Timing Scope Severity Impact
Ongoing Majority (50-90%) Negligible declines Low Impact: 5
Species mortality
Invasive and other problematic species, genes & diseases Invasive non-native/alien species/diseases - Trichosurus vulpecula Timing Scope Severity Impact
Ongoing Whole (>90%) Negligible declines Medium Impact: 6
Species mortality
Transportation & service corridors Utility & service lines Timing Scope Severity Impact
Ongoing Minority (<50%) Negligible declines Low Impact: 4
Species mortality

Recommended citation
BirdLife International (2023) Species factsheet: Falco novaeseelandiae. Downloaded from on 27/01/2023. Recommended citation for factsheets for more than one species: BirdLife International (2023) IUCN Red List for birds. Downloaded from on 27/01/2023.