kestrel

/kes"treuhl/, n.
1. a common small falcon, Falco tinnunculus, of northern parts of the Eastern Hemisphere, notable for hovering in the air with its head to the wind.
2. any of several related small falcons, as the American kestrel, F. sparverius.
[1400-50; late ME castrell < MF quercerelle, metathetic var. of CRECERELLE, of disputed orig.]

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Any of several birds of prey (genus Falco) known for hovering while hunting.

Kestrels prey on large insects, birds, and small mammals. The male is more colourful than the female. Kestrels are mainly Old World birds, but one species, the American kestrel (F. sparverius), often called the sparrow hawk in the U.S., is common throughout North and South America. It is about 12 in. (30 cm) long, white or yellowish below, and reddish brown and slate-gray above with colourful markings on the head. The common kestrel (F. tinnunculus) of the Old World is larger and less colourful. See also falcon.

Male common kestrel (Falco tinnunculus).

Werner Layer
Bruce Coleman Ltd.

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bird
      any of several small birds of prey of the genus Falco (family Falconidae (falcon)) known for their habit of hovering while hunting. Kestrels prey on large insects, birds, and small mammals. They exhibit sexual colour dimorphism, rare among hawks: the male is the more colourful. Kestrels are mainly Old World birds, but one species, the American kestrel (F. sparverius), called sparrow hawk in the United States, is common throughout the Americas. The American kestrel is about 30 cm (12 inches) long, white or yellowish below, reddish brown and slate gray above with colourful markings on the head.

 The common kestrel (F. tinnunculus; see photograph—>), ranging over most of the Old World and sometimes called the Old World, Eurasian, or European kestrel, is slightly larger than the American kestrel but less colourful. It is the only kestrel in Britain, where it is called “windhover” from its habit of hovering while heading into the wind, watching the ground for prey. The Australian kestrel, F. cenchroides, is also called a sparrow hawk.
 

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Universalium. 2010.

Synonyms:
, , (Falco tinnunculus)


Look at other dictionaries:

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  • kestrel — [kes′trəl] n. [ME castrel < OFr cresserelle, quercerelle: orig. echoic] 1. either of two small, reddish gray European falcons (Falco tinnunculus or F. naumanni) that can hover in the air 2. AMERICAN KESTREL …   English World dictionary

  • Kestrel — Kes trel (k[e^]s tr[e^]l), n. [See {Castrel}.] (Zo[ o]l.) A small, slender European hawk ({Falco alaudarius}), allied to the sparrow hawk. Its color is reddish fawn, streaked and spotted with white and black. Also called {windhover} and {stannel} …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • Kestrel — f English: one of the rarer female names derived from vocabulary words denoting birds that have come into use in the 20th century. The word itself derives from Old French cresserelle, apparently a derivative of cressele rattle …   First names dictionary

  • kestrel — (n.) kind of falcon, c.1600, earlier castrell (15c.), probably from M.Fr. cresserelle, which apparently is related to crecerelle rattle, from L. crepitacillium small rattle, dim. of crepitaculum noisy bell, rattle, from crepitare to crackle,… …   Etymology dictionary

  • kestrel — ► NOUN ▪ a small falcon that hunts by hovering with rapidly beating wings. ORIGIN perhaps from Old French crecerelle …   English terms dictionary

  • Kestrel — Taxobox name = Kestrel image width = 250px image caption = Adult male Common Kestrel regnum = Animalia phylum = Chordata classis = Aves ordo = Falconiformes familia = Falconidae genus = Falco ( partim ) subdivision ranks = Species subdivision =… …   Wikipedia

  • Kestrel — Cette page d’homonymie répertorie les différents sujets et articles partageant un même nom. Kestrel est un terme anglophone qui désigne la plupart des oiseaux appelés « crécerelle » en français. Il peut faire référence à : Kestrel …   Wikipédia en Français

  • kestrel — UK [ˈkestrəl] / US noun [countable] Word forms kestrel : singular kestrel plural kestrels a small bird of prey that kills smaller animals for food …   English dictionary

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