Lesser kestrel

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The lesser kestrel (Falco naumanni) belongs to the family Falconidae. The lesser kestrel species is distributed in Europe, Asia, Africa and Indian Subcontinent.

Taxonomy of Lesser kestrel

  • Scientific Name: Falco naumanni
  • Common Name: Lesser kestrel
  • French: Faucon crécerellette; German: Rötelfalke; Spanish: Cernícalo primilla;
  • Family: Falconidae › Falconiformes › Aves › Chordata › Animalia
  • Species author: Fleischer, 1818
The scientific name of this kestrel bird commemorates the German naturalist Johann Andreas Naumann.

Indian birds - Image of Lesser kestrel - Falco naumanni
Indian birds - Image of Lesser kestrel - Falco naumanni


The lesser kestrel is a small bird of prey, the male measuring 30 to 35 cm in length and weighing 90 to 170 grams. The female kestrel is slightly larger and weighs 140 to 200 grams. The wingspan is 60 to 70 cm. The male has a bluish grey head and rusty brown upper parts. The under parts are buff with black spots. The tail is grey with a subterminal black band. The kestrel females and immature are rusty on the back with black barring and streaking. The call is a harsh chay-chay-chay sound.


The lesser kestrel inhabit steppe-like habitats, natural and managed grasslands, open areas in hot, dry climates, semi desert habitats and non-intensive cultivation.

Feeding habits

The primary feed of these kestrel bird is large insects like grasshoppers, locusts and crickets. These kestrel birds have been observed to feed on tree frogs, small reptiles and small birds.


The lesser kestrel breed during the April and May. It is usually a colonial breeder and nests on buildings, cliffs, or in tree holes. The female lays 3 to 6 eggs. Both the parents take part in raising the chicks.


Breeding populations of the lesser kestrel are distributed in Spain, Portugal, France, either sides of Mediterranean sea, Israel, Palestine, Jordan, Iran, Iraq, Armenia, Azerbaijan, Georgia, Russia, Ukraine, Afghanistan, Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan, Kazakhstan, China and Mongolia. It is a rare visitor to the Indian Subcontinent. It winters in Africa.

Movement Patterns

The lesser kestrel are partially migratory, European and Mediterranean populations moving southwards across much of Africa, particularly South Africa.

Status and conservation

The lesser kestrel underwent steep decline during late 1900. However the population has stabilized now and shows increasing trends. The main threats to its conservation are habitat degradation and loss, agricultural intensification, afforestation, intensive pasture management and urbanisation.

The IUCN (International Union for Conservation of Nature) has categorized and evaluated these kestrel birds and has listed them as of "Least Concern".

Biological classification of Falco naumanni
Species:F. naumanni
Binomial name:Falco naumanni
Distribution:Europe, Asia, Africa and Indian Subcontinent;
Feeding habits:large insects, frogs and small reptiles and birds;
IUCN status listing:
Least Concern

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