en European kestrel
A juvenile kestrel born in our barn.
Falco tinnunculus is a bird of prey species belonging to the kestrel group of the falcon family Falconidae. It is widespread in Europe, Asia, and Africa, as well as occasionally reaching the east coast of North America. They are small compared with other birds of prey, but larger than most songbirds. Like the other Falco species, they have long wings as well as a distinctive long tail.
In the cool-temperate parts of its range, the common kestrel migrates south in winter; otherwise it is sedentary, though juveniles may wander around in search for a good place to settle down as they become mature. It is a diurnal animal of the lowlands and prefers open habitat such as fields, heaths, shrubland and marshland. It does not require woodland to be present as long as there are alternative perching and nesting sites like rocks or buildings. It will thrive in treeless steppe where there are abundant herbaceous plants and shrubs to support a population of prey animals. The common kestrel readily adapts to human settlement, as long as sufficient swathes of vegetation are available, and may even be found in wetlands, moorlands and arid savanna.
When hunting, the common kestrel characteristically hovers about 10–20 m above the ground, searching for prey, either by flying into the wind or by soaring using ridge lift. This species is able to see near ultraviolet light, allowing the birds to detect the urine trails around rodent burrows as they shine in an ultraviolet colour in the sunlight.
F. tinnunculus requires the equivalent of 4–8 voles a day, depending on energy expenditure. They have been known to catch several voles in succession and cache some for later consumption. An individual nestling consumes on average 3–4 voles per day. (source: Wikipedia)