Common Kestrel

Common Kestrel

"Bombay (male) & Sapphire (female)"

Bombay and Sapphire are brother and sister and both live and fly together. Most mornings they can be found cuddled up together on the same perch. They are currently learning how to hover.

Common Kestrel Facts

Falco tinnunculus

TERRITORY/LOCATION

Common and widely distributed throughout Britain. The kestrel has a wide distribution in the rest of the world, from Europe and North Africa, through Eurasia, the Middle East, India, China and Japan.

HABITAT

Prefers open habitat such as fields, heaths, shrubland and marshland. It does not require woodland to be present as long as there are alternative perching and nesting sites like rocks or buildings. 

DIET

When hunting, the common kestrel hovers about 10–20 m above the ground, searching for prey, either by flying into the wind or by soaring using ridge lift. It can often be found hunting along the sides of roads and motorways. They are able to see near ultraviolet light, allowing the birds to detect the urine trails around rodent burrows as they shine in an ultraviolet colour in the sunlight, catching mouse-sized mammals. Voles, shrews.

NESTING

It is a cavity nester, preferring holes in cliffs, trees or buildings; in built-up areas, common kestrels will often nest on buildings, and generally they often reuse the old nests of corvids if these are available, breeding March – June laying 3–6 eggs.

SIZE/WEIGHT

32–50cm long, with a wingspan of 65–82 cm weighing 136–314 g Females are noticeably larger.

LIFE EXPECTANCY

 10-16 years in the wild

 24 years oldest recorded in the wild

DID YOU KNOW?

Most common kestrels die before they reach 2 years of age; mortality up until the first birthday may be as high as 70%. At least females generally breed at one year of age.

The global population is fluctuating considerably over the years but remains generally stable; it is roughly estimated at 1–2 million pairs or so, about 20% of which are found in Europe.

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