Common Kestrel (Falco tinnunculus
The Common Kestrel is a medium-sized bird of 13" (32cm).
The male has a blue-grey head and tail. Its back is chestnut, spotted with black. Its underparts are buff-coloured, with black streaks and spots.
The larger female has less buff in the head and tail. It also has less pronounced moustachial stripes.
Both sexes feature yellow bases around the bill, rings around their eyes and feet. The claws are black. The long tail has a dark band at the end, followed by a very narrow band of white.
Similar to the Lesser Kestrel
, but larger, with males having slightly different markings and females being darker. Habits
The Common Kestrel is either seen alone, or in pairs, perched on dead trees or on top of acacia or desert palm trees, where they have a good view of their surroundings and roost. Often seen hovering over grassland, before diving steeply, to catch their prey. Diet
The Common Kestrel eats mainly mice (voles & shrews, too), small birds, lizards and smaller invertebrates - flying termites are a delicacy. Resident
The very similar Rock Kestrel (Falco rupicolus
) is an uncommon resident, while the Common Kestrel is a migrant from Europe and Asia, seen in Kenya between October to March. Common Kestrels are seen all over Kenya, wherever there is a food supply and suitable vegetation for perching & roosting. Extra Facts
The Common Kestrel has a distinctive "key~key~key
" call, often from tall acacia when greeting. Photographs
Photographed in Kenya's Olare Orok Conservancy.