Thursday, 13 February 2014

170. Common Kestrel (Falco tinnunculus)

Common Kestrels are a familiar sight in the UK and Europe, being the most common falcon in these parts. I see them frequently from my office window at the University of Birmingham, in fact only today I spotted one a couple of times. They are resident throughout much of southern and central Europe and north Africa, and are found in Scandinavia only in summer. Their hovering flight is distinctive, I really like this photo which I think illustrates it perfectly. Both sexes have rust-red upperwings and back, with black wingtips; the female's rusty colour is slightly browner than the male's. They are boldly speckled with black spots and have a grey head and tail which again in the female is slightly browner; she also has barring on the tail. Juveniles look similar but are more streaky than spotted. They like a wide range of open habitats, including farmland, grassland, heathland, motorway verges and marshes, with some trees or buildings for nesting.

Common Kestrel, ©ferran pestaƱa, via Flickr Creative Commons.

Common Kestrel painting.

Argh I spent way too long on this but lost patience in the end and bodged up the underside of the wing somewhat, still I think the rest of it is OK, I'm quite pleased with the shape. Really need to try and stick to my time limit and not get carried away! Especially seeing as my studying has gone up a notch now I'm doing 2 modules at once (Ecosystems and Evolution).

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