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.

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.

The Common Kestrel eats mainly mice (voles & shrews, too), small birds, lizards and smaller invertebrates - flying termites are a delicacy.

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.

Photographed in Kenya's Olare Orok Conservancy.

Categories & Keywords
Subcategory Detail:
Keywords:bird, common kestrel, kenya, kestrel, wildlife

Common Kestrel ~ Flying

A Common Kestrel flying above Thomson's Gazelles, looking on the ground for prey.

Common Kestrel ~ Close-up

Close-up of a Common Kestrel, perched on a dead tree stump in Kenya.

Common Kestrel ~ on Dead Tree

A Common Kestrel, perched in typical fashion, on a dead tree.

Common Kestrel ~ Tail Fanned

Common Kestrel, perched on Acacia bush, tail fanned out for balance.

Common Kestrel ~ Eating

A Common Kestrel, eating a small bird on the ground, having swooped down.

Common Kestrel ~ Wary

A Common Kestrel, on the ground, looking up in the sky for predators, before completing its meal.