Kestrel


Kestrel

Kestrels are the most common rapture frequenting farmland, moors, parks, heaths, coastline, marshes and city-centres. A familiar sight with their pointed wings and long tail, hovering beside a roadside verge. They have adapted readily to man-made environments and can survive right in the centre of cities.

Numbers of kestrels declined in the 1970s, probably as a result of changes in farming.

 

 


Identification

Juvenile
lacks grey on the head and tail
Male
Males have a grey head and tail with a prominent black band, a gingery-brown back and a creamy underside which is speckled with black.
Female
Females are similar to the males, but with a more uniform brown back and dark bands on the tail.
Size
32 - 35cms length
Bill
black, hooked.
Legs
yellow, long.
Habitat
Kestrels are found in a wide variety of habitats, from moor and heath, to farmland and urban areas. The only places they do not favour are dense forests, vast treeless wetlands and mountains. They are a familiar sight, hovering beside a motorway or other main road. They can often be seen perched on a high tree branch, or on a telephone post or wire, on the look out for prey.
Behaviour
perches openly, takes off and lands on vegetation, posts, wires and on the ground.
Flocking
Solitary
Flight
hovers, soars, aerial dive.
Voice
high pitched kee-kee-kee sound

Breeding & Feeding

Nest
Kestrels will use holes in trees, nest boxes, cliff ledges and even old nests to lay their eggs.
Eggs
5 to 5 eggs, white with heavy brown speckles. The timing of egg laying is dependent on the weather, but the female normally lays her clutch of 3-6 eggs in late April or early May.
Incubation Period
Incubation takes 27-29 days per egg, which hatch over a period of a few days.
Fledgling
27 - 39 days, the chicks fledge gradually from around four to 5 weeks old.
Broods
1 - April to June
Food
Small mammals and birds, worms and insects.
UK Breeding Pairs
46,000 to 52,000