Home > Birds > Birds of Prey
Common Kestrel
Similar Birds:
 Greater Kestrel
 Lesser Kestrel
 Grey Kestrel
 Fox Kestrel
 Banded Kestrel
 Spotted Kestrel
 Nankeen Kestrel
 Mauritius Kestrel

Common Kestrel
Photographer: Andreas Trepte

Photographer: Andreas Trepte

Latin Name Falco tinnunculus
Conservation Status Least Concern
Location Europe, Africa & Asia
Colour Chestnut, Grey, Black & White
Length 32 - 39 cms (12.5 - 15.5 inches)
Wingspan 70 - 80 cms (28 - 32 inches)
Weight 125 - 325 g (4 - 12 oz)
Life Expectancy Up to 15 Yrs (in the Wild)

Main Characteristics

The Common Kestrel is a small falcon. They have a body length between 32 and 39 cms (12.5 - 15.5 inches), a wingspan between 70 and 80 cms (28 - 32 inches) and they weigh between 125 and 325 g (4 - 12 oz).

They are chestnut brown or greyish in colour with black bars and spots and a black tip to their tail. Their wings are tipped in black on the dorsal side and are pale underneath. Both males and females have a dark spot or stripe below each eye.

Common Kestrels are one of the few medium-sized birds that can hover for extended periods and they can often be seen hunting at the edges of major roads.


Common Kestrels can be found in Europe, Asia and Africa. They prefer open, grassy fields and farmlands but they can also be found in forested areas and marshlands. They also occur at a wide range of altitudes from sea level to 5,000 m (16,404 ft).


Common Kestrels mainly feed on small mammals, insects and amphibians.


Common Kestrels breed once per year and they nest on ledges, in buildings, in trees or they use a nest that has been abandoned by another species of bird. A clutch of 3 - 7 eggs are laid and after an incubation period of 26 - 34 days the chicks hatch.

The chicks fledge at 27 - 32 days old but they still rely on their parents for food. They become independent at 7 - 8 weeks old and they reach sexual maturity at 1 year old, although they do not usually mate during their first year of maturity.


Predators of Common Kestrels include northern goshawks, peregrine falcons, sparrowhawks, eagle owls and tawny owls.


There are eleven subspecies of the Common Kestrel:

Falco tinnunculus alexandri
Falco tinnunculus archeri
Falco tinnunculus canariensis
Falco tinnunculus dacotiae
Falco tinnunculus interstinctus
Falco tinnunculus neglectus
Falco tinnunculus objurgatus
Falco tinnunculus perpallidus
Falco tinnunculus rufescens
Falco tinnunculus rupicolaeformis
Falco tinnunculus tinnunculus

Interesting Facts

Common Kestrels are also known as:
European Kestrel
Eurasian Kestrel
Old World Kestrel

A Kestrel is one of the main characters in The Animals of Farthing Wood.

Contact         About         Glossary         Site Map         Privacy Policy

CC 2006 - 2014 theanimalfiles.com