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Kestrels are expert hoverers and can often be seen suspended in the sky above roads or motorways. You may also spot one perched somewhere high, such as a branch, telephone pole or wire.

Kestrel in sky with wings open

We work with organisations such as the Wildlife Conservation Partnership to protect this threatened bird by installing nesting boxes and managing habitats.

Kestrels have extremely good eyesight that enables them to spot small animals from a massive distance, before swooping down to catch them. They will sometimes store up their catch to eat later when all their hunting is done.

The kestrel's recent decline in numbers is largely due to the intensification of farming, which has in turn caused the habitat loss of many small mammals, which are the kestrel's prey.

Fun facts

  • Scientific name: falco tinnunculus
  • Diet: voles, mice, shrews and other birds
  • Habitat: mostly wide open spaces, but can be seen in urban areas too
  • Skills: they can see ultraviolet light, helping them detect urine trails left by smaller animals on the ground.
Family nature guide 2019

Download your free nature guide

Identify footprints and read fascinating facts about the creatures who make their homes along our canals and rivers

Last Edited: 14 August 2023

photo of a location on the canals
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