Kestrel - Falco tinnunculus


A familiar sight with its pointed wings and long tail, hovering beside a roadside verge. Both sexes have black wing tips.  The adult male has a grey head and grey tail whilst the female has a brown head and a barred brown tail.

Identification difficulty

Kestrels are found in a wide variety of habitats, from moor and heath, to farmland and urban areas. The only places they do not favour are dense forests, vast treeless wetlands and mountains. They are a familiar sight, hovering beside a motorway, or other main road. They can often be seen perched on a high tree branch, or on a telephone post or wire, on the look out for prey.

When to see it

All year round

Life History

Kestrels have been recently declining as a result of habitat degradation due to continuing intensive management of farmland and so it is included on the Amber List. They have adapted readily to man-made environments and can survive right in the centre of cities. Kestrels do not build their own nests, but use nests built by other species and frequently nest in or on buildings. They hunt for small mammals, birds and large insects.

UK Status

Common and widespread in Britain

VC55 Status

Fairly common as a breeding bird in Leicestershire and Rutland

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Leicestershire & Rutland Map


Yellow squares = NBN records (all known data)
Coloured circles = NatureSpot records: 2020+ | 2015-2019 | pre-2015

UK Map