Avifauna of Crete

Lesser
kestrel

Lesser kestrel
(2 votes)

Lesser kestrel (scient. Falco naumanni) is one of the most known species of falcon in Crete, but today it is threatened with extinction. The locals call it “windfuc…r” because it has the ability to hover at a fixed point in the air, against the wind, so it seems like making love with the wind!

The kestrel is a small falcon that nests on cliffs or in old houses and hunts its prey in open areas with brushwood, while in winter it haunts in farmland, before migrating to Africa. It lives in warm areas (30-50 ° C) at low altitude and feeds mainly on rodents, reptiles and insects, thus being very beneficial to farmers.

It is a very beautiful bird, fearless and noisy. It usually lives in groups although there are cases that it hunts in pairs or solely. Indeed, in the savannahs of Africa, where the species is abundant, one can meet more than 1000 kestrels on the same tree!

Its body size is about 30-36cm, being quite small. The male has bluegray head and tail and bright back, beige belly with scattered spots. Females have dark red back and its claws are white.

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