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Common Kestrel

From Opus

Alternative names: Eurasian Kestrel
Includes Greater Cape Verde Kestrel; Lesser Cape Verde Kestrel

MalePhoto by psilo  Marshside, UK
Male
Photo by psilo
Marshside, UK
Falco tinnunculus

Contents

[edit] Identification

32-39 cm

  • Light chestnut, black spotted upperparts
  • Buff, black streaked below
  • Black remiges
  • Black malar stripe
  • Black tipped tail with narrow white rim
  • Bright yellow eye ring, cere and feet
  • Dark iris, bill and talons

Male: fewer black spots and streaks, blue-grey head and tail
Female: brown tail with black bars

FemalePhoto by IanF Hartlepool, Cleveland, UK
Female
Photo by IanF
Hartlepool, Cleveland, UK

[edit] Distribution

Europe, Asia and Africa.

By far the most numerous falcon Europe and found from the British Isles and northern Norway south to the Mediterranean and the major Mediterranean islands and from Iberia east to Russia. Also found throughout Turkey and the Middle East, and breeds across Asia to the Pacific coast of the Russian Far East, China, Korea and Japan. In Africa breeds in the north from Morocco to the Nile Valley and south of the Sahara from Senegal east to Ethiopia.

Northernmost populations are migratory, the remainder resident or with the young birds dispersive. Autumn passage extends from August-November and birds return to southern parts of breeding range in February and as late as June in the north. The Common Kestrel is a broad-front migrant but is seen in good numbers along the major migration routes.

Vagrants have been recorded north to Iceland, the Faroes and Svalbard and also south on the Azores. Also recorded in Sumatra and in the Americas in Alaska, Massachusetts, New Jersey and on Martinique.

JuvenilePhoto by steve.hinchliffeOld Moor, Yorkshire, July 2010
Juvenile
Photo by steve.hinchliffe
Old Moor, Yorkshire, July 2010

[edit] Taxonomy

Rock Kestrel was formerly included in this species.

[edit] Subspecies

About 10 races are recognised[1]: Nominate race tinnunculus is present in Europe and over most of northern Asia, replaced by the smaller, darker and more richly-coloured rupicolaeformis in Egypt and the Middle East.
F. t. interstinctus occurs from the Himalayas to Japan and objurgatus in southern India.
The heavily barred archeri is found on Socotra and in Somalia and coastal north Kenya, the dark and more chestnut rufescens in much of mainland Africa.
The small and dark canariensis is found on Madeira and the western Canary Islands and the paler, more heavily-spotted dacotiae in the eastern Canaries.
Again small and dark, the race neglectus occurs in the northern Cape Verde Islands and the larger and more rufous alexandri in the south-east of the group.

[edit] Habitat

Today a familiar bird along motorway verges and on farmland but also found in a wide range of open habitats. Requires trees, rocks or buildings for nesting and open grassland, heathland or cultivation with an abundant supply of voles and other small rodents.

[edit] Behaviour

[edit] Flight

Direct flight, rarely interspersed with glides, unlike Eurasian Sparrowhawk. Hovers with still head and fanned tail when hunting.

[edit] Diet

The diet includes voles, shrews and mice.

[edit] Breeding

The 3-6 brown spotted eggs are incubated by the female for 4 weeks. The young fledge 4-5 weeks later.

[edit] Vocalisation


Listen in an external program
Recording by Alok Tewari
Bairasiul Power Project, Dist. Chamba, Himachal Pradesh, India, March-2013
Call given by an immature, calling first from a perch, and then on taking off.

[edit] References

  1. Clements, J. F., T. S. Schulenberg, M. J. Iliff, D. Roberson, T. A. Fredericks, B. L. Sullivan, and C. L. Wood. 2016. The eBird/Clements checklist of birds of the world: v2016, with updates to August 2016. Downloaded from http://www.birds.cornell.edu/clementschecklist/download/
  2. Wikipedia
  3. Collins Bird Guide ISBN 0 00 219728

[edit] External Links


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