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any of several small falcons, esp the European Falco tinnunculus, that tend to hover against the wind and feed on small mammals on the ground



(Cerchneis tinnunculus), a bird of prey of the family Falconidae. The body is 31–38 cm long and weighs 160–240 g. The females are larger than the males. The back and tail of the female are reddish yellow with dark transverse stripes; the males have dark speckles above and a gray tail with a dark tip.

The kestrel is found in Europe, Asia (except the Far North), and Africa. It inhabits all zones except the tundra, living both in mountains and on the plains. In the Pamir Mountains the bird has been observed at elevations reaching 4,000 m. In the northern part of its range, the kestrel is a migratory bird. It nests in trees, using the old nests of other birds, on rocky cliffs, and in abandoned buildings. A clutch contains four or five eggs, which are incubated by both parents for 28 days. The birds leave the nest within a month. Kestrels feed on small rodents, insects, lizards, and small birds. They are useful in exterminating rodents.

References in periodicals archive ?
Despite their small size, kestrels will also try to rob other birds of prey birds such as sparrowhawks and owls.
It was not until the halfway point that the opener arrived, as Robin Floyd beat Meechan to put the Kestrels in front.
Summary: Environment and Protected Areas Authority treats and releases a common kestrel in Kalba mountains
Sure enough, two kestrels made themselves at home from May - tucked away inside the spire, with access through stone flower-shaped openings.
Two of the kestrel chicks are given a health check at Aston |University and (right) a view of the brood on the webcam
Now Kestrel is due to swoop back on to supermarket swoop back on to supershelves - with a donation to the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds for every can sold in Britain.
James died in 2007 and when his son Rod, also an artist, was sorting through his father's papers he came across his written accounts of the shipyard kestrels.
There has been a dramatic fall in the number of kestrels, right, in recent years
Kestrels are protected under the 1981 Wildlife and Countryside Act.
Kestrel is also gearing up for the start of another busy season of event catering support including providing logistical support at the iconic Hard Rock Calling at Hyde Park in June.
What initially started off as a missing piece of glass in a technician's study room at Aston University has since become the nesting place for several generations of kestrels.
BirdWatch co-ordinator Dick Coombes warned numbers of kestrels, which mainly feed on mice and small birds, are dropping by between seven and eight per cent a year.