Watchable Wildlife

Kestrel /Pocaire Gaoithe / Falco tinnunculus

Kestrel

Did you know?

  • The kestrel is the only Irish bird of prey that hovers, making it easier to spot than any other raptor.
  • The second most common bird of prey in Ireland after the sparrowhawk.
  • Small mammals form the staple part of diet, particularly mice, but also eat small birds, lizards and large insects.
  • Kestrels are visual predators, with very acute eyesight. They can see near ultra-violet light, allowing birds to detect urine trails of rodents.
  • When hunting it gradually lowers itself through the air in stages, almost lift-like, until it chooses the moment to seize its prey.
  • Nest on ledges or in the hollows of old trees, and even use nesting boxes.

 

What to watch for:

Size:

  • 32-39cm long, with a wingspan of 65-82cm (female is slightly larger than the male)

Coloration:

  • Chestnut-brown upper parts with blackish spots and buff under parts. 
  • Blue-grey head and tail.

 

Where to watch:

  • Heathland, farmland, edge of road or park.

 

When to watch:

  • All year round, but especially in the breeding season (April-June) when they are out hunting to feed their young.

Listen for:

  • A series of short, sharp notes repeated quickly.

 

Viewing Locations:


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