A hovering kestrel (c) Collin Shore

Kestrel

Kestrels are the most common bird of prey in Europe, although their numbers have declined in Britain over the last few years. Their habit of hovering, particularly near motorways, means they are also one of the easiest to spot. Whilst hovering they have the extraordinary ability to keep their head totally still, even in strong winds. This allows them to pinpoint and catch small mammals by sight alone. If prey is abundant, kestrels sometimes kill more than they need and cache what they don’t eat.

All you need to know about British birds.

Scientific name: Falco tinnunculus

Rank: Species

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Distribution

Map showing the distribution of the Kestrel taxa

Species range provided by WWF's Wildfinder.

The Kestrel can be found in a number of locations including: Africa, Asia, China, Europe, Indian subcontinent, Mediterranean, Russia, United Kingdom, Wales. Find out more about these places and what else lives there.

Habitats

The following habitats are found across the Kestrel distribution range. Find out more about these environments, what it takes to live there and what else inhabits them.

Additional data source: Animal Diversity Web

Conservation Status

Least Concern

  1. EX - Extinct
  2. EW
  3. CR - Threatened
  4. EN - Threatened
  5. VU - Threatened
  6. NT
  7. LC - Least concern

Year assessed: 2009

Classified by: IUCN 3.1

Characters we've followed

  • The Pensthorpe Kestrel The Pensthorpe Kestrel

    In 2010 Springwatch followed a nest of kestrel chicks as they struggled to come to terms with the loss of their mother.

Video collections

Take a trip through the natural world with our themed collections of video clips from the natural history archive.

  • Life in slow motion Life in slow motion

    Slow motion filming techniques transform amazing wildlife moments into full scale events, and simple action into incredibly detailed video sequences.

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