Kestrel | Facts, Diet, Habitat & Pictures

Kestrels | Facts, Diet, Habitat & Pictures

Kestrel Overview


Kestrels a small to medium-sized birds of prey known for their slender bodies and pointed wings. They typically have a length of about 30 to 35 centimeters (12 to 14 inches) and a wingspan of around 65 to 80 centimeters (26 to 32 inches).

Kestrels display sexual dimorphism, with males and females having distinct plumage. Their plumage is characterized by a combination of brownish or rufous colors, often adorned with black spots and streaks. Kestrels have sharp, hooked bills and prominent black markings around their eyes.

Origins And Evolution

Kestrels, belonging to the genus Falco, are raptors with an evolutionary lineage dating back millions of years. They are part of the Falconidae family, which has a rich fossil record. Their ancestors likely originated in Eurasia and adapted to diverse environments, leading to the development of various species.

Kestrels are known for their superb hunting abilities and efficient aerial skills, which play a crucial role in their survival. Over time, they evolved into the slender, agile birds of prey we recognize today. Their evolution showcases the remarkable adaptability of raptors in exploiting different niches worldwide.

Behavior and Lifestyle

Kestrels are diurnal birds of prey known for their hunting prowess. They are often seen perched on high vantage points, such as utility poles or trees, where they scan the surroundings for prey.

Kestrels primarily feed on small mammals, birds, and insects, which they capture using sharp talons and a swift stoop (dive). They are territorial birds, defending their hunting grounds from other kestrels. Their agile flight and hovering skills are essential for pinpointing and catching prey.

Kestrel Scientific Classification

  • Kingdom: Animalia
  • Phylum: Chordata
  • Class: Aves
  • Order: Falconiformes
  • Family: Falconidae
  • Genus: Falco
  • Species: F. tinnunculus

Kestrel Locations

  • North America
  • South America
  • Europe
  • Asia
  • Africa
  • Australia
  • New Zealand
  • Middle East
  • Pacific Islands
  • Indian subcontinent

Fast Facts

  • Name: Kestrel
  • Scientific Name: Falco tinnunculus
  • Habitat: Open country, Urban areas
  • Diet: Small mammals, Birds
  • Physical Features: Hovering hunters
  • Nocturnal: Diurnal mostly
  • Solitary: Solitary or in pairs
  • Unique Order: Falconiformes
  • Lifespan: 4-8 years
  • Conservation Status: Least Concern
  • Fun Facts: Aerial acrobats, Vision adaptations

Physical Characteristics

  • Color: Brown, Gray
  • Skin Type: Feather-covered
  • Top Speed: 55 mph
  • Lifespan: 4-8 years
  • Weight: 150-250 grams
  • Length: 30-35 cm
  • Age of Sexual Maturity: 1 year
  • Age of Weaning: 4-5 weeks

Kestrel FAQs

What is a Kestrel?

A Kestrel is a small to medium-sized bird of prey known for its distinctive hovering flight and sharp hunting skills.

Where are Kestrels found?

Kestrels are found on every continent except Antarctica, with various species inhabiting diverse environments.

What do Kestrels eat?

Kestrels primarily feed on small mammals, birds, and insects. Their diet varies depending on their habitat and the availability of prey.

Are Kestrels nocturnal birds?

No, they are diurnal, meaning they are active during the day and hunt in daylight.

Do Kestrels have strong talons for hunting?

Yes, Kestrels have sharp talons and a strong beak for capturing and eating their prey.


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