Eurasian Kestrels for Sale
The Common Kestrel (Falco tinnunculus) is a bird of prey species belonging to the kestrel group of the falcon family, Falconidae . It is also known as the European Kestrel, Eurasian Kestrel, or Old World Kestrel. In Britain, where no other brown falcon occurs, it is generally just called "the Kestrel".
This species occurs over a large range. It is widespread in Europe, Asia, and Africa, as well as occasionally reaching the east coast of North America. The Common Kestrel is small compared with other birds of prey, but larger than most songbirds. Kestrels have long wings as well as a distinctive long tail like the other Falco species. This bird's plumage is mainly brown with dark spots. Unlike most hawks they display sexual color dimorphism with the male having a blue-grey head and tail. The tail is brown with black bars in females, and has a black tip with a narrow white rim in both sexes. All Common Kestrels sexes have a prominent black malar stripe like their closest relatives.
Common Kestrels measure 34 - 38 cm (~13 - 15 in) from head to tail, with a wingspan of 70 - 80 cm (~27 - 31 in). The average adult male weighs around 155 g (~5 1/4 oz) with the adult female weighing around 184 g (~6 1/4 oz).
This is a diurnal animal and prefers an "open country" habitat such as fields, heaths, and marshland. When hunting, the Common Kestrel hovers about 10 - 20 m (~33 - 66 ft) above the ground, searching for prey, usually by flying into the wind or using thermals from ridges. Once prey is sighted, the bird makes a short, steep dive toward the target. It can often be found hunting along the sides of roads and motorways. It has recently been shown that it is able to see near ultraviolet light, allowing it to detect the urine trails around rodent burrows, which reflect ultraviolet light.
Kestrels prey upon small mammals, including voles, as well as small birds, large insects, earthworms, and frogs. Like most birds of prey, Kestrels have keen eyesight enabling them to spot small prey from a distance. Kestrels require the equivalent of 4-8 voles a day, depending on energy expenditure (time of the year, amount of hovering, etc). They have been known to catch several voles in succession and to store some for later consumption.
In built-up areas Kestrels will often nest on buildings or reuse the old nests of crows.
Kestrel is apparently not a true kestrel at all. Both species have much grey in their wings in males, which does not occur in the Common Kestrel or its close living relatives but does in almost all other falcons.