The Common Kestrel (Falco tinnunculus) is a bird of prey in the Falconidae family of falcons. It is also called the European Kestrel or the Eurasian Kestrel. It is a raptor.
The Common Kestrel is light chestnut-brown with blackish spots on the upperparts and beige on the underparts. Its tail is brown with a black tip. Females have black bars on their tails. Its cere, feet, and eye-ring are bright yellow to yellowish-cream.
It measures 32-39 centimetres (13-15 inches) tall, with a wingspan of 65-82 centimetres (26-32 inches). It is small compared with other birds of prey.
The Common Kestrel is widespread across Europe, Asia, and Africa. It migrates south in winter. It prefers open shrublands and marshlands, fields, meadows, moorlands, and wetlands.
It is diurnal. It hunts its prey during the day. It soars high, while searching for prey using its excellent eyesight. It dives onto the animal on the ground, killing it with its sharp talons (claws) and beak. It eats mice, rats, voles, shrews, and small birds. Sometimes it eats bats, frogs, and lizards.
The Common Kestrel nests in a hole in a tree, building, or cliff ledge. Females lay 3-7 eggs, which hatch after 28-30 days. Only the female sits on the eggs, while the male finds food for her. Both parents look after the chicks until they can fly, which takes 4-5 weeks.
Their average lifespan is 15 years.
Photographer: Martina Nicolls
Martina Nicolls: SIMILAR BUT DIFFERENT IN THE ANIMAL KINGDOM