01 April 2013 08:40 Filed in: Falconidae Falcons Kestrels Birds of Prey France Camargue Alpes Maritimes Verdon Mercantour Cote d'Azur Monaco Gambia Bijolo Forest Park
© monacoeye • Female kestrel hovering, France • 2009
Bird name: Common Kestrel
Latin: Falco tinnunculus
Other: Kestrel (UK), Faucon Crécerelle (Fr), Turmfalke (De), Cernícalo vulgar (Es), Gheppio comune (It), Torenvalk (Nl), Tornfalk (Sv), Peneireiro-vulgar (Pt)
Family: Falconidae • Falcons, Kestrels
Range: Europe, Asia, India, Africa
Similar: Lesser Kestrel
The male Kestrel has a grey cap and tail, while the female is brown. Both have the dark malar stripe characteristic of falcons.
There are many races of Kestrel each with slightly different patterning. In France the nominate tinnunculus race is present, while in Gambia the rufescens race is found (see below). Male rufescens have more heavily barred upperside than tinnunculus; female rufescens are deeper brown and more barred than tinnunculus.
Kestrels are one of the most abundant and visible birds of prey in Europe - often seen hovering in mid air before swooping down to catch a lizard or small mammal.
They are small birds, a little larger than pigeons.
Below, female Common Kestrel perched on wire, Camargue
Below, male Common Kestrel wing pattern. Falco tinnunculus tinnunculus, France
Below, male Common Kestrel alighting. June, France. Falco tinnunculus tinnunculus
Common Kestrel brings agama lizard to juv? Falco tinnunculus rufescens
Below, Common Kestrel Falco tinnunculus rufescens. Gambia, Feb 2013
Below, Common Kestrel. Falco tinnunculus rufescens. Gambia, Feb 2013
Below, Common Kestrel on dead palm. Falco tinnunculus rufescens. Gambia, Feb 2013
Below, Common Kestrel (?) from French falconry show - unknown race.