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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
Collins Discovery Encyclopedia, 1st edition © HarperCollins Publishers 2005
The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.



(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.

The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.
References in periodicals archive ?
Louise Pedersen from the RSPB's Birmingham office added: "It's wonderful that kestrels are thriving in Birmingham but they are still declining due to loss of hunting habitat.
"Also, kestrels are right at the top of the food chain, you would need about 100 mice or small birds to every one kestrel, so if anything happens to the mice, it hits them first.
THERE is something compelling about watching a hunting kestrel at close quarters.
Kestrels are easily recognised by their hovering hunting style.
We did not see any other kestrels or other species consume the provided food.
There are about 10 subspecies of Eurasian kestrels, seen in different regions.
Even as recently as a decade ago the sight of kestrels hovering over motorway embankments was commonplace.
Senior Arborist Mark Hillman said: "The kestrel is a good mother and with the weather being so warm, she no longer needs to keep the chicks warm as they all huddle up together - I think they look like penguins in a snowstorm!" The successful breeding of the kestrels is thought to be largely due to the way in which biodiversity is managed both on and around campus.
However, the pressure is on at the top, with both Kestrels and the Comets also securing maximum points over the course of the weekend.
George Stewart from Kielder Kestrels sailed off with the techno award and Douglas Penning from Derwent Devils claimed a merit award for a tremendous effort in his debut race.
"She's only small, about 6 or 7 inches tall, and not really distinctive from other kestrels."