Kestrel (Falco Tinnunculus) Bird Introduction


In high winds, the kestrel can remain motionless in the sky with tiny adjustments of tail and wing feathers; in still air, it remains equally still except for the rapid beating of its wings. From a hovering height of 15 meters, it will drop like a stone on its prey of small rodents and large insects.

Bird History

Britain’s birds of prey are experiencing something of a revival, having gone into serious decline for much of the 10th century at the hands of hunters, egg collectors and aggressive farming techniques. The osprey, for example, has reappeared in a few locations and both the peregrine and the sparrowhawk, though still scarce, have recovered from near-extinction.

However, although the kestrel is the most familiar and numerous of our birds of prey, it remains in decline. It has successfully adapted to environments in town, country and coastline precisely because farming methods are eradicating its prey from its traditional farmland hunting grounds. This is why we see and admire it so often at the roadside — it has been forced to hunt there.

Kestrel Bird Information and Facts



Kestrel bird has reddish brown back, speckled black in the male, barred black in the female; black tail and wing-tips; yellowish brown speckled breast; short hooked yellow bill and bright yellow legs; head and tail grey in the male, reddish brown in the female and juvenile, black moustache-like lines below bright yellow eyes.


The size of the bird is around 35cm (14 in.)


High-pitched kee-kee-kee, often while flying; in alarm, more of a keh-keh-keh.

Kestrel bird habitat

Kestrel bird is an habitant of open fields, open woodland, moorland, rocky coastal areas.


All year throughout Ireland and Britain except shetland.


Similar species

Kestrel bird may not be confused with a sparrowhawk, which has slate-grey upperparts and russet and buff (male) or pale grey and black (female) close-barred underparts; and the merlin, slightly smaller with a blue-grey (male) or muddy brown (female) back; the peregrine is slightly larger, with blue-grey upperparts and off-white underparts with narrow grey-brown barring.

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