Living Organisms / Animalia / Craniata / Aves / Ciconiiformes / Falconidae / Falco / Species
Falco tinnunculus - Common kestrel (Click photographs/illustrations: full picture & further details)
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INFORMATION AVAILABLE

GENERAL & REFERENCES

EXTERNAL APPEARANCES

REPRODUCTION

BEHAVIOUR

NATURAL DIET

RANGE & HABITAT

CONSERVATION

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General and References

Alternative Names (Synonyms)

  • Kestrel
  • Faucon crécerelle (French)
  • Turmfalk (German)
  • Gheppio (Italian)
  • Cernícalo vulgar (Spanish)
  • Tornfalk (Swedish)
  • Torenvalk (Dutch)

Names for newly-hatched

Chick

Names for non-breeding males or other colour-phases

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References

Species Author

Debra Bourne

Major References

B89, B104, B162, B163, B164, B165, B166

Aviculture references:

ORGANISATIONS
(UK Contacts)

ELECTRONIC LIBRARY
(Further Reading)
Click image for full contents list of ELECTRONIC LIBRARY

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TAXA Group (where information has been collated for an entire group on a modular basis)

Parent Group

  • Birds of prey

Specific Needs Group referenced in Management Techniques

  • Birds of prey

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Aviculture Information

Notes

--
Individual Techniques linked in Wildpro

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External Appearance (Morphology)

Measurement & Weight

Length
Adult weight General --
Male 136-252g (B104)
Female 154-314g (B104)
Newly-hatched weight 14g (B104)
Growth rate To 225-280g in 21 days (B104)

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Head

Adult Bill Male Tip blue-black shading to base blue-grey; cere yellow hooked (B104, B164, B165, B166).
Variations (If present) --
Eyes Male Dark brown. (B104)
Variations(If present) --
Juvenile Bill Tip blue-black shading to base blue-grey; cere yellow-green (B104).
Eyes (Iris) Dark brown. (B104)

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Legs

Adult Male Yellow, with black claws (B104, B164, B165, B166).
Variations (If present) --
Juvenile Yellow, with black claws (B104).

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Plumage

Adult Male
  • Head: Greyish with fine streaks; cheeks white with black moustache.
  • Upperparts: Deep chestnut with fine black spotting; rump blue-grey.
  • Ventral: Tawny/buff; breast has darker spotting, flanks streaked.
  • Tail: long blue-grey with wide dark terminal band.
  • Wings: Long, narrow, sometimes tips appear rounded deep chestnut with small black spots; flight feathers darker brown.
  • Under surface: pale, barred.

(B164, B165, B166)

Variations (If present) Female:
  • Upperparts: warm brown with dark barring; rump, usually brown, sometimes greyish, finely barred.
  • Tail: brown, occasionally greyish, fine bars and broad terminal dark bar.

(B164, B165, B166)

Juvenile Generally similar to female.
  • Upperparts: yellowish red-brown.
  • Ventral: bold streaking on breast.
  • Wings: upper primary coverts may have pale band.

(B164, B165, B166)

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Newly-hatched Characteristics

Semi-altricial; helpless, downy, fed by parents (B164, B163, B166).

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Reproduction

Reproductive Season

Time of year Apr-June (B166).
No. of Clutches One (B163, B166).

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Nest placement and structure

  • On cliff or in fork of or hole of tree, also hole/niche in buildings.
  • Bare scrape (where this is possible)or twigs and grass.
  • Use old corvid nests.

(B163, B164, B166)

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Egg clutches

No. of Eggs Average 4-5 (B163, B166).
Range 1-9 (B163).
Egg colour White with heavy reddish-brown speckling; length 39mm (B163, B166).

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Incubation

27-29 days (B163, B166).

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Hatching

Asynchronous (B163).

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Fledging

27-32 days (B163); 27-39 days (B166).

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Sexual Maturity

Males One year old. (B104)
Females One year old. (B104)

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Behaviour

Feeding Behaviour

Adults Hovers and swoops down to catch prey on ground (B163, B166).
Newly-hatched Fed by parents (B163).

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Parental Behaviour

Nest-building By both birds (B163).
Incubation By female (B163, B166).
Newly-hatched Tended by both parents; male hunts and brigs food, while female tends young (B163).
Juveniles

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Social Behaviour

Intra-specific Solitary or in pairs (B163, B166).
Inter-specific --

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Sexual Behaviour

Monogamous (B163); very rarely bigamous. (B162)

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Predation in Wild

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Activity Patterns

  • Quick agile flight; hover, soar and dive.
  • Commonly seen hovering e.g. over grass verges of motorways.
  • Perches openly; takes off from ground as well as from vegetation.

(B163, B164B166)

Circadian Diurnal.

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Natural Diet

Adults

Small mammals, mainly voles, also birds and insects (B163, B164, B166).

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Newly-hatched

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Range and Habitat

Distribution and Movement (Migration etc.)

Normal Europe, Africa, Asia.

In Britain:

  • Widespread.

Movements:

  • Resident in south and west of range, northern and eastern populations may migrate as far as south-east Asia and Philippines. (B89, B163)

(B89, B163, B164, B165, B166)

Occasional and Accidental --
Introduced

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Habitat

  • Wide variety of habitats, both open country and open forests.
  • May be found e.g. plains, airfields, arable fields, heaths, marshes, heaths, motorway verges, towns, forests.

(B163, B164, B165, B166)

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Conservation

Intraspecific variation

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Conservation Status

Wild Population -
(Importance)

Widespread over Europe, Africa, Asia.

  • Britain: widespread, common.

  • Finland: major declines since 1960's (B163).

(B163, B164, B165, B166).

General Legislation --
CITES listing --
Red-data book listing --
Threats Pesticides (B163).

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Captive Populations

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Trade

--

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