Bird, bug, butterfly and a wild variety of photos from Belarus, Cyprus, Finland, Greece, Ireland, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Scotland and Spain by Irish wildlife photographer Patrick J. O'Keeffe and invited guests

Sunday 28 February 2016

LESSER KESTREL [First summer male on left and female] (Falco naumanni) Katholiko Monastory, Akrotiri, Crete, Greece

Click here for detailed species information
Click here to see distribution map and to hear calls

The Lesser Kestrel (Falco naumanni) is a small migratory bird of prey of the family Falconidae which is in the genus Falco. It is a summer resident which occurs across a narrow band that stretches from the Iberian Peninsula eastwards as far as Mongolia and north western China. This colonial breeder has a patchy distribution in southern Europe.
It arrives back from its wintering areas in sub Saharan Africa and Pakistan during April and early May. In addition, there are small non migratory populations mainly in southwest Spain and northwest Africa. Prey items include small birds, invertebrates, reptiles, mice, shrews and voles. It remains in the breeding areas until late August and early September when the return migration south begins. 
 Where their ranges overlaps, it can be easily confused with the closely related Eurasian Kestrel (Falco tinnunculus) especially the females as they are very similar in appearance. The European population is in serious decline probably as a result of overuse of pesticides and rodenticides.

Reference: Patrick J. O'Keeffe / Raw Birds