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Common Kestrel Facts

Did you know kestrels are the fastest birds in the world? They can reach up to 40 mph speeds and hover in the wind above the ground at 35–65 ft, looking for prey. 

Kestrels are amazing creatures, and they deserve our respect. In this article, we’ll learn about the common facts about this beautiful bird. We’ll also learn how to identify them, where they live, and why they’re important.

 It’s not just another bird facts article – it’s packed with information you won’t find anywhere else!

Common Kestrel Facts for Kids

  • Common kestrels can fly at speeds up to 40 mph
  • The average lifespan in the wild is 4 years.
  • They eat small mammals like woodmice and small birds.
  • They grow to about 30 – 36 cm in length.
  • You’ll find them in coasts, moorland, farmland, and wetland habitats.

Habits and Lifestyle

The common kestrel is one of the world’s smallest raptors. It is found across much of Eurasia, Africa, and North America. This species is typically solitary except during breeding season when it forms pairs or small groups.

It hunts insects, reptiles, amphibians, fish, rodents, and small mammals such as mice. They prefer open areas (such as coasts, moorland, farmland, and wetland) with plenty of vegetation.

This bird is nocturnal and spends most of its life perched high up in trees, shrubs, buildings, or cliffs. When not nesting, it roosts in dense foliage or among branches of tall trees. During migration, it flies low over fields and meadows. In winter, it nests in holes in rocks or tree trunks.

Diet and Nutrition

The common kestrel is a medium-sized bird of prey native to Eurasia. This species is often found near human habitation, and it is nocturnal. It hunts at night and feeds mostly on small rodents, reptiles, amphibians, fish, and invertebrates. It is one of North America’s most commonly seen raptors due to its preference for open habitats. Kestrels are known to nest in buildings, especially barns.

What type of animal is a common kestrel?

The kestrel is a bird of prey are belong to the falcon family.

Facts for Kids
Facts for Kids

What class of animal does a common kestrel belong to?

A bird of prey belongs to the order Falconiformes, which includes falcons, caracaras, eagles, hawks, owls, and Old World vultures.

How many common kestrels are there in the world?

According to the International Organization for Biological Diversity (IOBD), the approximate population of adult Common Kestrels is around 3,900,000-5,800,000 individuals. The IOBD also states that about 20% of the birds’ entire population is located within.

Where does a common kestrel live?

Kestrels are small falcons that live in Europe and northern Africa. During the winter months, they migrate southward to warmer climates.

What is a common kestrel’s habitat?

These birds can be found anywhere from sea level to 16,400 feet (5,000 meters) above sea level, including open forests, tundras, shrublands, marshes, taigas, grasslands, and heathlands.

Due to the greater hunting opportunities offered by open spaces, they prefer them.

How long does a common kestrel live?

On average, the Common Kestrel Bird lives for 4 years in the wild.

How do common kestrels reproduce?

During the breeding season, the males make loud quacking sounds. The female lays two eggs. 

Typically, in a kite nest, you will find 3 to 7 eggs in a clutch, which take around 25-35 days to hatch. They take about six to nine weeks before the young leave the nest. The young live with their parents until they can hunt for themselves.

They mature sexually within one year of hatching but rarely breed during the first year. Females often wait for the following breeding season to mate.

Males help feed the young, and they also help protect the nest from predators. The chicks grow rapidly and require a continuous supply of food. Kites can be either monogamous or polygamous.

What is their conservation status?

Currently, the common kestrels are listed as the least concern by the International Union for Conservation Of Nature.

What do common kestrels look like?

Adult Females tend to be bigger than males. Their plumage is generally greyish brown with dark markings. They have a white throat patch and a black spot on their heads. Males tend to have a blue head, and the coloration may extend onto their tails. Kestrels are often seen flying around the day, hunting small animals such as mice and insects.

The males have a redder head and neck, but the color isn’t present on the tail. They have a narrower blackish streak or a black spot under their eye. Their magnificent wings are darker on top, while they have a lighter color on their underside, and the tips of their wings are usually black. Their bills and feet are yellow, and their eyes have yellow rims.

Young birds are covered in light brown down, which makes them look different from adults. When they get older, their feathers molt into adult-looking ones. It’s striking how similar the juveniles are to the females. If you see one flying near your house, you can easily identify it as an adult common kestrel.

How do common kestrels communicate?

Common kestrels primarily communicate through vocalizations, which are mostly limited only to the breeding season. However, a “keeee-kee” call is often heard from them on sensing any threat to their young ones.

Tactile communication is used by them, too, especially during mating. The male and the females perform a unique visual display during courtship. They include beating the wings in a rapid but shallow manner.

The birds participate in the display either before or after mating. They also perform a rhythmic movement during this ritual. The birds make an unusual noise while performing this ritual. The most remarkable part of this ritual is the diving action taken by the birds.

They plunge towards the nest, forming an inverted V shape. They make a call similar to “kurr-kr” while they are part of the ritual.

How big is a common kestrel?

The average length of a common kestrel is around 12 inches (30cm) and weighs between 1.2 and 2 pounds (0.56 – 0.9kg). They can fly for up to 30 minutes at speeds of up to 50 miles per hour (80km/h), although they rarely do so.

Kestrels live in open country, often near water, hunting small mammals such as mice, voles, shrews, and rabbits.

Their diet consists mainly of insects, especially grasshoppers, crickets, beetles, butterflies, moths, flies, wasps, ants, bees, spiders, and dragonflies.

How fast can a common kestrel fly?

The fastest recorded speed by a common kestrel was 39 mph (63 kpm). It achieved the speed by using its large wingspan. It can fly at high speeds for a long time.

How much does a common kestrel weigh?

Kestrels usually weigh between 4.8 and 11.1 ounces (136 and 314 grams), but females tend to be heavier than males.

What are the male and female names of the species?

The male is called a tercel, while the female common kite is called either a falcon or just a kite.

What would you call a baby common kestrel?

A chick is a common baby kestrel.

Is the common kestrel aggressive?

Kestrels are usually very territorial and aggressive when they think they’re under threat. 

They’re also known for having territorial displays throughout the year. Their claws are sharp and often leave a deep cut on your skin.

How far can kestrels see?

They can see prey almost 164 feet (50 meters) away with their keen eyes. Even in the dark, their keen eyesight can detect ultraviolet light.

A fascinating hunting technique of common kestrels is detecting urinal traces of rodents. The keen sight helps them to spot prey from a distance without the prey being aware of their presence, and the bird quickly dives down to make it as fast as possible.