jp8694's picture


Observed: 20th November 2011 By: jp8694
S159 Neighbourhood Nature - current student
jp8694’s reputation in Birdsjp8694’s reputation in Birds

I watched this little raptor for some time hovering over the steep and rough ground on the south coast of Cornwall, near Cawsand. Smaller than a sparrowhawk, and only observed from underneath.

Species interactions

No interactions present.

Species with which Kestrel (Falco tinnunculus) interacts


jp8694's picture

Definitely not a kestrel

Sorry, but this was absolutely not a kestrel. It was smaller and more compact and did not have the relatively long tail of a kestrel. Also it wasn't hovering as such (and I have seen many kestrels hovering), it was riding the onshore wind. I've also seen buzzards using this technique of using a headwind to hover.

Syrphus's picture

It was indeed a Kestrel. The

It was indeed a Kestrel. The picture proves it. Kestrels will 'ride the wind' as Buzzards do, as well as flapping. The pattern of the bird is also visible, if obscurely, in the picture, and is 100% Kestrel. Nothing about this bird gives rise to any doubt, and it does not fit any of our other falcons.



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ar8922's picture


I'm not an expert in bird identification but I did care for and fly a kestrel for about a year as a teenager and this certainly fits the bill, in both shape and flight.

ophrys's picture


Syrphus is of course correct.

I think you are thrown by the fact that it was riding the updraught rather than hovering, which has given it a slightly different profile, perhaps. The wing feathers are spread and the body feathers are fluffed, maybe, giving it a more stocky appearance.

It is a Kestrel, though, and a useful reminder that birds do not always conform to their usual guide book appearance (though this is pretty close, actually!).


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jp8694's picture

I stand corrected. It really

I stand corrected. It really didn't look like a kestrel to me and seemed too small. I see kestrels every day so I'm suprised that I didn't correctly identifye it. Thanks for the feedback.

pirayaguara's picture

Male kestrels are a lot

Male kestrels are a lot smaller than the females and more dainty