773. Falco tinnunculus

773. Kestrel.
Falco tinnunculus, Linn. Syst. Nat. i. p. 127 (1766) ; Naum. i. p. 323, Taf. 30 ; Hewitson, i. p. 32, pl. x. figs. 2, 3 ; Gould, B. of E. i. pl. 26 ; Newton, i. p. 78 ; Dresser, vi. p. 113, pl. 384 ; (Sharpe), Cat. B. Br. Mus. i. p. 425 ; (Tacz.), E. O. Sib. O. p. 95 ; Seebohm, B. Jap. Emp. p. 194 ; Saunders, p. 355 ; Lilford, i, p. 53, pl. 26 ; F. alaudarius, Gmel. Syst. Nat. i. p. 279 (1788) ; Gould, B. of Gt. Brit. i. pl. 21 ; (Blanf.), F. Brit. Ind. Birds, iii. p. 428 ; F. t. japonicus, Temm, and Schlegel, Faun. Jap. Aves, p. 2, pls. 1, 1b ; F. t. canari¬ensis (Koenig), J. f. O. 1890, p. 327, pt. i.
Cresserelle, French ; Peneireiro, Francelho, Portug. ; Cernicalo, Span. ; Gheppio, Ital. ; Turmfalke, Germ. ; Taarnfalk, Norweg, and Dan. ; Tornfalk, Swed. ; Tornihaukka, Finn. ; Obiknovennaya-pustelga, Russ. ; Bouschrada, Arab. ; Karontia, Narzi, female, Narzinak male, Hindu. ; Maguso-daka, Jap.
Male ad. (England). Head, neck, lower back, rump, upper tail-coverts, and tail blue-grey ; the head narrowly striped, and the tail sub terminally broadly banded with black ; rest of upper parts chestnut-red, with black triangular spots ; quills blackish, the inner web with whitish bars ; fore¬head and eyebrow whitish ; moustache blackish grey ; under parts rufes¬cent fawn, the breast streaked, the sides spotted with black ; thigh-feathers pale chestnut, unspotted ; bill yellow at base, then blue, tipped with black ; cere, orbital region, and legs yellow ; iris brown. Culmen 1.75, wing 9.2, tail 7.0, tarsus 1.6 inch. The female has the upper parts and tail rufous, the former barred, the latter banded with black and tipped with fulvous ; chin and abdomen pale dull fulvous ; breast dull rufous, striped with black ; flanks indistinctly barred. The young bird resembles the female, but is paler.
Hab. Europe generally, from Lapland to the Mediterranean, but chiefly in summer in the northern parts ; Madeira, the Canaries and Azores ; Africa south to Abyssinia ; Asia Minor and Asia north to northern Siberia, south to northern India ; China ; Corea ; Japan.
Inhabits the woods, plains, and cultivated localities, where it may be seen carefully quartering the ground, occasionally hovering in the air in search of its prey. It feeds on mice, insects, and reptiles, but seldom on small birds. Its cry is a shrill kee, kee, kee, uttered several times in succession. It breeds in old ruins, church towers, cliffs, &c., and sometimes in trees, taking possession of deserted nests of other birds, and in April 4 to 5 eggs are laid, which in ground-colour vary from white and reddish white to dull reddish, and are closely marked and blotched with fox-red, dull chestnut, and purplish chestnut. In shape they are roundish oval, and in size average about 1.61 by 1.29.
In tone of plumage the Kestrel varies considerably, birds from Madeira, the Canaries, East Africa, and Japan being very dark in colouration, and have indeed been described as speci-fically separable, but I cannot see that this view is correct.

A Manual Of Palaearctic Birds
Dresser, Henry Eeles. A Manual of Palaearctic Birds. Vol. 2. 1903.
Title in Book: 
773. Falco tinnunculus
Book Author: 
H. E. Dresser
Page No: 
Common name: 
Common Kestrel
Falco tinnunculus
Vol. 2
Term name: 

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