Falco tinnunculus

The common kestrel, Falco tinnunculus, is the closest and easiest to see daytime bird of prey. It prefers an open field and bush habitat, avoiding dense and closed forests, even nesting within populations.

It is relatively small compared to other raptors, but larger than most birds. It has long russet wings with black spots, as well as a very distinctive long tail, gray on top and with a rounded black edge. The plumage of males on the head is blue-grayish. They measure 34 to 38 cm from head to tail, and 70 to 80 centimeters in wingspan. The average adult male weighs about 155 g, and the female about 190 g.

When hunting, the kestrel remains in hover, almost motionless, between 10 and 20 m above the ground, waiting to spot some prey (this is called cerner, hence its name) and when it appears, it dives to the ground. great speed towards it, although it is also common for it to descend suspended and silently vertically on it without giving it time to react. Their prey is usually small mammals, mainly rodents, small birds, reptiles, large insects, worms and frogs.

Kestrels begin breeding in spring by nesting in crevices of rocks or buildings and in the hollows of trees, but they also occupy old nests of corvids and other birds, sometimes even directly on the ground.

The clutches usually have between three and six eggs, with an incubation of 26 to 31 days, mainly carried out by the female while the male feeds her.

Incubation lasts about a month, and only the females incubate the eggs. The male is responsible for providing food, and for some time after hatching he continues to do the same. Later, both parents share hunting duties until the young leave the nest, after 4-5 weeks. The family stays very close for a few weeks, up to a month or so, during which the young learn to fend for themselves and search for prey. The young become sexually mature in the following breeding season.

Playing your song:

Common kestrel in direct flight towards the moon!!!

This series of three images of the common kestrel with the moon, obtained last February, are the result of an entertaining afternoon following its evolution near where a pair of this raptor, taking advantage of an old corvid nest, in this case Magpie, they had decided to settle.

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