Saturday, 18 April 2015

Day 166 - Kingly Kestrels

Hi all today's Day 166 and I have had a lovely day at Fairburn Ings and I saw a lot of things. I saw a Ruddy Shelduck which aren't even native to this country (I'm guessing it was migrating or may have escaped from somewhere but if I'm wrong please tell me), I saw an Orange Tip Butterfly (this is something that Springwatch has asked people to look out for but I'll cover that in tomorrow's post). But today's post is about the Kestrel I saw. I have seen these lots of times but I haven't actually managed to get any pictures of them but this one was quite accommodating and I managed to get a some of pictures today although it was quite far away for my camera.
Kestrel (Falco tinnunculus)

So, here are the facts:

  • They are resident all across the UK except for some of the Scottish Islands as well as Lough Neagh which is a rather large lake in Northern Ireland.
  • They are a very familiar sight hovering at the side of a road but they are not as common as you might think. There are 46,000 breeding pairs.
  • This number would make them a Green Status bird but because they declined in the 1970's, they are an Amber List.
    Hovering looking for vole urine?
  • They are pretty common in all habitats, mostly in Scrubs and Arable Farmland but they can even be found in Coastal and Reed Bed areas.
  • Their Latin name, Falco tinnunculus, translates to Shrill Sounding Falcon. Falco = Falcon (L) and Tinnulus = Shrill Sounding.
  • Their Latin name doesn't lie. They do have a very high, shrill 'Di Di Di Di' call whcih I haven't actually heard before because I have either been in the car when I saw one, or too far away. Below is a video of one calling:
  • They have a lot of local names such as Red Hawk, because of its feathers, Mouse Falcon, because of its diet, and Hover Hawk, Wind fanner and Wind Hover because of its ability to hover when hunting. An ancient name for them is Crecele which in old French means rattle. and is referring to 
  • They are small falcons being only 34cm in length and only having a 76cm wingspan. Males weigh 190g while Females weigh 220g!
  • They have a typical lifespan of 4 years but the oldest one almost quadrupled it! It was 15 years 11 month and 1 day old.
  • I found this final fact amazing, so I hope it's accurate - Kestrels can see into the ultra-violet spectrum which means they see ultra-violet light reflected in a vole's urine which is left as it marks its trail. That's a very handy adaptation!
Here are some links to more information:

Hope you enjoyed,



  1. Amazing birds, I love it when I get a chance to spot one! - Tasha

  2. Ruddy shelduck have been seen smack in the middle of Nottingham on the Trent embankment over the last few days

  3. Be careful of divulging where the ruddy duck is located.

    1. Hi Mrs TillyFlop - it wasn't a Ruddy Duck it was a Ruddy Shelduck.