Wingspan 80 cm
Length 35 cm
Weight 150 – 250 grams
Breeding pairs 45,000 pairs
The Kestrel is the most widely dispersed of the UK’s birds of prey and can be found through the UK. Also referred to as Windhover and roadside raptor due to its style of hunting and the number of sightings alongside main roads. Until recently the Kestrel used to also be the most numerous of our birds of prey but following a decline in numbers this title has been taken by the Buzzard
In the region of 32-35 cm long with a wing span of 71-80 cm
Mainly small rodents, especially voles, earthworms, large insects, bats and sparrows. The Kestrel will hunt from a perch or from a hover in which it keeps its head perfectly still. Hovering takes more energy which means that a perch is more widely used in the winter months. The Kestrel has extremely sharp eyesight and is also able to see in ultra-violet, this particular ability is highly useful for hunting its favourite prey of voles which leave a urine trail wherever they go, this trail shows up to ultra-violet
Kestrels do not build their own nests and will typically use old nests of larger birds such as pidgeons and crows. It can also be found on cliff ledges and in holes is trees.
One clutch of 3-6 eggs April – May, typically only 30-40% survive their first year with the major cause of death being starvation.
The Kestrel is classed as an amber list species. Over the last 40 years numbers have reduced some 25% due to both changes in habitat and a reduction in prey brought about by more intensive farming methods
words and images by Graham Stewart