This is a very widespread species and is found breeding over much of Europe, Africa and Asia (except the Tropics). Other kestrels are found just about all over the rest of the World. They are very expert at hovering into the wind to keep them over a small area of ground where they pounce to catch small mammals and insects.
An old name is 'wind-hover' and this name (in translation) is used in several languages. Northern populations are migratory and Southern are sedentary or nomadic. Their breeding success depends on the level of small mammal populations. They have a moustachial stripe and chestnut backs - a dove grey tail indicates an adult male. In Britain and Ireland it is found breeding all over the place except much of the Outer Hebrides and Shetland - about 60,000 pairs in all.
In many areas the commonest falcon.
The following Bird On! picture is available:
Kestrel (35mm Colour Slide by Roger Tidman)
Length 330 mm Closed wing 250 mm Weight 180 gms
A Bird On! Sketch by Chris Mead
Copyright © 1996 by Jacobi Jayne & Company and Chris Mead