NZ Falcon

Report a Falcon Sighting

Report a falcon sighting

  • Help us understand more about the NZ falcon.

    NZ falcon

    Although the New Zealand falcon is classified as a threatened species, the distribution of this spectacular bird is still not fully understood. Help us understand more about these wonderful birds and report any New Zealand falcons you see by sending an email to

    Please include date observed, location with GPS reference, number of birds seen, activity of birds, e.g. hunting, vocalising, dive-bombing, and a description of the bird. Also send photos of the bird you saw where possible. If you do not have the exact GPS or map reference of your observation please use Google Earth to locate the area where you saw the falcon and note down the grid reference or GPS location.

    People often confuse falcons and harriers. One key difference is that falcons defend their nests vigorously during the breeding season, striking intruders around the head and uttering a loud ‘kek kek kek’ call.

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  • Five ways to tell the difference between a falcon and a Harrier.

    NZ Falcon

    1. The falcon is usually seen in active hunting flight, chasing small birds with rapid wing beats; whereas the harrier is mostly seen gliding over the ground searching for carrion and small prey.
    2. Harriers glide with wings set in a dihedral V-shape and rock slightly in the changing air currents. Falcons glide with a very flat wing either very close to the ground trying to surprise prey, or very high in the sky as they survey their surroundings.
    3. Harriers are often seen feeding on road-kill. Falcons almost exclusively take live prey and are very rarely seen on the side of the road.
    4. Harriers have a large 1 metre wingspan and stand around 50cm tall. Falcons have a much shorter wingspan and are much smaller (about the size of a magpie).
    5. Falcons and harriers differ in their plumage and colouration (see photos below).

    See PDF 'differences between falcons and harriers' →