The Kestrel belongs to the Falcon family, the order of Falconiformes. Lives on the European continent in Western Asia, North Africa. The largest spread is observed in Europe.
In the wild Kestrel lives 15-16 years, but sometimes life expectancy is 22-24 years. The mortality rate among young birds is 50%.
About the origin of the names of birds there are two opinions:
- the name came from the inability to tame the bird to hunt. People counted the birds, empty-in other words;
- the Latin name “silver Falcon”. This bird really has a very beautiful voice, which is similar to the ringing of bells, so the version has the right to life.
- Some birds migrate, and part of the sedentary lives. Behavior is determined mainly by the amount of food in the breeding areas. Usually Falcon Kestrel fully migrates from the North of Europe and Asia to Africa and to the South of the European continent.
- The adult birds choose to winter place, located near the breeding area, a youth flies a lot further.
- In the cold winter, common Kestrel, living in Russia, flies to the East coast of the Mediterranean sea.
- Bird Kestrel does not like the steppes and forests, but prefers to settle in areas with low grass on the edges and coppices.
- Crucial when choosing habitat for Kestrel has a wealth of fodder. However, to life in regions with a small amount of food Sokol commonly adapts perfectly. Especially to mountain areas: the individual members of the species were observed at an altitude of 5000 m above sea level.
- The last time the Falcon was chosen European city. A nest of Kestrel can be found in the most unexpected place, for example, on the windowsill in a multistory building.
- Feed the birds far enough away from their nests, in the suburbs, flying sometimes 5-6km from the house.
Kestrel settles in cities with the same ease as the peregrine Falcon. The nests these birds build on the balconies, in pipes, under the eaves, and in other unexpected places. Birds are often encountered on the boulevards and in the parks. On the tracks of the bird could just sit there, watching the traffic. Where the lives of Kestrels, must be food, otherwise the predator looks for another refuge.
Kestrel called the “small” Falcon.
Indeed, this bird is small in size:
- wing length is 24-29 cm;
- body length – 33-39 cm;
- wingspan – 65 to 81 cm;
- the males ‘ average weight is 160 g (maximum recorded – 260 g);
- as a rule, females are larger than males, and weight “ladies” ranges 185-315 G.
During the year, the weight of the Falcon is kept constant. Females are the greatest mass reach during egg laying. The weight of the mother directly affects the survival of Chicks. Than a bird more it weighs, the more it is laying, and the Chicks are more resilient.
The males and females are distinguished by the color of the head and the color of the plumage, that is, the species has sexual dimorphism.
- The tail and the head of the male is light gray and the overall color of the feathers is a pale redhead.
- On the throat of the male, the feathers a light shade. Back rounded black spots.
- Top flight feathers are almost black.
- At the tip of the tail has a black stripe with a white border.
Upper torso and head of the female has a Buffy-rufous colour, plus are transverse dark bands. The flight feathers are dark brown, in contrast to males. The tail is brown, there is a lot of dark lanes. The tip of the tail as in males, has a broad dark stripe with a white rim. Of young specimens the coloration as females. However, in contrast to females, the young falcons wings shorter and more rounded. All the birds of this species around the eyes has a yellow border. The cere is the same color.
The main diet of the Kestrel include:
- of mice voles;
Hunting this bird is also on:
Attacks the Falcon, and birds, for example sparrows and nestlings of pigeons. Prey Kestrel kills, hitting with the beak in the head. For hunting, the Kestrel requires a large space in the bushes of the forest food, they will not look.
Adult Falcon in the day it takes 6-8 voles. Technique in hunting common Kestrel uses a variety. The predator can sit at altitude, looking for prey. Noticing such, Falcon immediately attacks her.
To look out for prey bird may image in a fluttering flight at a height of 10-20 m. Making frequent flapping wings, the Falcon is able to hover in one place. This tactic is very successful in the case of places with large concentrations of rodents.
Kestrel perfectly perceives the near UV light, in which well-marked traces of urine of rodents than the predator enjoys. Noticing the prey, a Falcon headlong attacks her. On worms, shrews, frogs and lizards Falcon hunts on the ground. In flight it produces small birds.
The common Kestrel population in the North and in the center of Eurasia, breeds from April to may. Individuals who prefer the South of Europe and Africa, breeding occurs from August to December. These falcons themselves build their nests not. They make their nests in hollows of trees, rocks, in abandoned nests of other birds. Laying Kestrels were found on the ground, in shallow burrows on artificial objects and structures.
During the laying and rearing of offspring Kestrel in harmony with singing birds, and the masonry of the representatives of different types can be placed next to each other.
Kestrels are prone to colonial nesting. Grounds of these birds, as a rule, not exceed 30 hectares, and the raptors rarely fly them more than 500 m. Sometimes Kestrels form colonies of several dozen pairs.
Their territoriality falcons do not control strictly, and at one site can accommodate several families simultaneously.
The eggs do both parents, and doing this four weeks. The number of eggs varies. As a rule, the nest is 3-6 pieces a minimum of 2 eggs and a maximum of 8 pieces.
The light nestlings of Kestrels appear completely white. Moreover, white not only down, but the claws and beak. Gradually the birds become greyish, a week later blackened nails, and turn gray beak. Little Chicks fledge quickly, and can fly after a month after birth. However, over the next month fledglings remain with parents who teach them to hunt. Mature young birds become in the next breeding season.
The common Kestrel is not on the verge of extinction. There are about two million of these birds. A quarter of this number living on the European continent. This birds will not be able to do falconry, an empty bird will not catch the prey for man. But at the farm the bird may be useful, as hunting for rodents. On the day the predator can catch up to three dozen animals.