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Kestrel

Falco tinnunculus

Classe: Uccelli (Aves)

Dimensions: length 30-35 cm, wingspan 70-80 cm

Life: 15 years

Habitat: almost in any habitat, from sea-level to the highest altitudes, except in very thick woods; it prefers open spaces

Diet: its diet mainly consists of small mammals, (mice, voles, moles, squirrels) and, to a lesser extent, of birds captured on the ground, lizards, insects

Reproduction: wedding parades start at the end of the winter. Like other hawks, it does not build a nest, but lays its eggs in cavities or on protrusions of trees, rock-faces, or buildings, even if inhabited. In April the female lays 4-6 eggs, which are hatched for about a month

Cubs: they are born in May-June, and, like all raptor chicks, must be fed by the mother for about three weeks. After over one month they learn to fly, but they still spend a few weeks near the nest, where they are fed by their parents and learn to hunt

Curiosities: it is a "gliding" specialist, since it can remain hanging in the air, always on the same spot, like a helicopter: with its body vertical, its tail like a fan, its wings exploiting the wind or rapidly flapping, while scanning the ground in search of a prey

Notes: it is an elegant little hawk, easy to sight while it is standing motionless in the sky in its classic "holy spirit" position. It is the most common raptor in Europe, adapting to live in the most different habitats, even in contact with man

In the Park: throughout the territory

Kestrel
Kestrel
(photo by Bruno Boz)
 
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