Eurasian kestrel

Adaptable raptor known for its hovering hunting technique and striking appearance

Assaf Levy

The Eurasian kestrel, also known as the common kestrel, stands out as one of the most recognizable and widespread falcons across its extensive range, spanning Europe, Asia, and parts of Africa. Renowned for its stunning chestnut plumage adorned with distinctive black spots, the Eurasian kestrel cuts a striking figure against the backdrop of diverse habitats ranging from open grasslands and farmlands to urban areas and mountainous regions.

In addition to its captivating appearance, the Eurasian kestrel boasts a remarkable facial pattern that adds to its allure. The black markings surrounding its eyes create a striking mask-like effect, enhancing its visual appeal and contributing to its iconic status among falcon enthusiasts and birdwatchers alike. A prominent dark line extending down the sides of its face further accentuates its features, making it easily recognizable even from a distance.

Beyond its aesthetic charm, the Eurasian kestrel possesses a range of adaptations that enable it to thrive in its varied habitats. Its long and pointed wings facilitate agile flight, allowing it to soar effortlessly across the sky and execute swift aerial maneuvers with precision. Furthermore, its squared tail tip plays a crucial role in stabilizing its flight during hovering, a behavior unique to kestrels among birds of prey.

One of the most fascinating aspects of the Eurasian kestrel’s behavior is its hunting technique, which showcases its exceptional aerial skills and keen hunting instincts. Unlike many other raptors, the Eurasian kestrel is adept at hovering in mid-air, using its keen eyesight to scan the ground below for signs of potential prey. This hovering behavior, combined with its remarkable agility and speed, allows it to target a diverse array of prey, including small mammals such as voles and mice, insects, and even small birds.

Distribution

Country
Population est.
Status
Year
Comments
Afghanistan
2021
Breeding
Albania
2021
Breeding
Algeria
2021
Andorra
2021
Angola
2021
Armenia
2021
Austria
2021
Azerbaijan
2021
Bahrain
2021
Bangladesh
2021
Belarus
2021
Breeding
Belgium
2021
Benin
2021
Bermuda
2021
Vagrant
Bhutan
2021
Breeding
Bosnia And Herz.
2021
Breeding
Botswana
2021
Brazil
2021
Vagrant
Brunei
2021
Vagrant
Bulgaria
2021
Burkina Faso
2021
Burundi
2021
Cambodia
2021
Cameroon
2021
Canada
2021
Vagrant
Cape Verde
2021
Central Af. Rep.
2021
Chad
2021
China
2021
Breeding
Congo-Brazzaville
2021
Croatia
2021
Cyprus
2021
Czechia
2021
Côte D’ivoire
2021
DR Congo (Kinshasa)
2021
Denmark
2021
Djibouti
2021
Egypt
2021
Eritrea
2021
Estonia
2021
Eswatini
2021
Ethiopia
2021
Faroe Islands
2021
Breeding
Finland
2021
France
2021
French Guiana
2021
Vagrant
Gabon
2021
Gambia
2021
Georgia
2021
Germany
2021
Ghana
2021
Gibraltar
2021
Greece
2021
Greenland
2021
Vagrant
Guam
2021
Non-Breeding
Guinea-Bissau
2021
Guinea
2021
Hong Kong
2021
Hungary
2021
Iceland
2021
Vagrant
India
2021
Breeding
Indonesia
2021
Vagrant
Iran
2021
Iraq
2021
Ireland
2021
Israel
2021
Breeding
Italy
2021
Japan
2021
Breeding
Jordan
2021
Kazakhstan
2021
Breeding
Kenya
2021
Korea
2021
Breeding
Kuwait
2021
Kyrgyzstan
2021
Breeding
Laos
2021
Latvia
2021
Lebanon
2021
Lesotho
2021
Liberia
2021
Libya
2021
Liechtenstein
2021
Lithuania
2021
Luxembourg
2021
Macao
2021
Seasonality Uncertain
Malawi
2021
Malaysia
2021
Maldives
2021
Mali
2021
Malta
2021
Martinique
2021
Vagrant
Mauritania
2021
Moldova
2021
Mongolia
2021
Breeding
Montenegro
2021
Breeding
Morocco
2021
Mozambique
2021
Myanmar
2021
Namibia
2021
Nepal
2021
Breeding
Netherlands
2021
Niger
2021
Nigeria
2021
Nort. Mariana Is.
2021
Non-Breeding
North Korea
2021
Breeding
North Macedonia
2021
Norway
2021
Breeding
Oman
2021
Pakistan
2021
Breeding
Philippines
2021
Poland
2021
Portugal
2021
Qatar
2021
Romania
2021
Russia
2021
Breeding
Rwanda
2021
Saudi Arabia
2021
Senegal
2021
Serbia
2021
Breeding
Sierra Leone
2021
Singapore
2021
Slovakia
2021
Slovenia
2021
Somalia
2021
South Africa
2021
South Sudan
2021
Spain
2021
Spain
2021
Non-Breeding: Canary Is.
Sri Lanka
2021
Breeding
Sudan
2021
Svalbard
2021
Vagrant
Sweden
2021
Switzerland
2021
Syria
2021
Taiwan
2021
Tajikistan
2021
Breeding
Tanzania
2021
Thailand
2021
Togo
2021
Tunisia
2021
Turkmenistan
2021
Breeding
Turkey
2021
UAE
2021
Uganda
2021
Ukraine
2021
United Kingdom
2021
United States
2021
Vagrant
Uzbekistan
2021
Breeding
Vietnam
2021
Breeding
Yemen
2021
Zambia
2021
Zimbabwe
2021

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Terrestrial / Aquatic

Altricial / Precocial

Polygamous / Monogamous

Dimorphic (size) / Monomorphic

Active: Diurnal / Nocturnal

Social behavior: Solitary / Pack / Herd

Diet: Carnivore / Herbivore / Omnivore / Piscivorous / Insectivore

Migratory: Yes / No

Domesticated: Yes / No

Dangerous: Yes / No