Kestrel Falco tinnunculus

The kestrel one of our best known bird of prey. Kestrels are a little smaller than a pigeon and can be found in all kinds of habitats from open countryside to towns and villages. Males have a grey head and tail with a prominent black band, a gingery-brown back and a creamy underside which is speckled with black. Females are similar, but with a more uniform brown back and dark bands on the tail.


Kestrels are typically seen hovering over the side of the road, on the lookout for small mammals like field voles which are their favourite food, their pointed wings held out. Kestrels nest in holes in trees, old buildings and abandoned crows nests, laying between four and five eggs, which both parents will feed when hatched.


Length: 33-39cm

Wingspan: 76cm

Weight: 190-220g

Average Lifespan: 4 years


Classified in the UK as an Amber List species under the Birds of Conservation Concern review.


Found almost everywhere.

When to see

January – December


  • The familiar behaviour of the kestrel gives it one of its old country names: the ‘wind hover’. While they hover, they have the ability to keep their head still, even in strong winds, helping them to pinpoint their prey by sight.

Common name


Species name

Falco tinnunculus

IUCN Red List status

Least concern

When to see in Scotland

January – December

Where to see in Scotland

Scottish Wildlife Trust reserves such as Kilminning coast or Rahoy hills.

Stay up to date with the Scottish Wildlife Trust by subscribing to our mailing list Subscribe now

Back to top