Common Kestrels with Nest (Falco tinnunculus)

.Common Kestrels, Falco tinnunculus, copyright Paula Kuitenbrouwer

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Falco tinnunculus, copyright Paula Kuitenbrouwer

I have drawn a spring-bird scene, showing a female common kestrel, who has just landed on her old crow’s nest. She is inspecting her eggs. The male is relaxed and sits close to the nest. The male common kestrel has a blue-grey cap and blue-grey tail, whereas the head cap and tail of the female is brown.

Have you ever seen a common kestrel? You will be amazed how cute they look. It is the combination of their round little heads and their big, dark eyes that makes them look adorable. But are ‘cute’ and ‘adorable’ words we use to describe a bird of prey?

Common kestrels were hunting birds for royal ladies in medieval times. Kestrels were considered to be of little use for serious falconry, and that is because they weren’t thought of as fantastic hunters. Kestrels hunt exclusively for mouse-sized mammals, insects (like dragonflies), beetles or small reptiles.

High court ladies wouldn’t mind when their bird caught a dragonfly, a beetle or a vole. If a bird prefers to chase a dragonfly over a delicious rabbit, or catches a clumsy beetle instead of small, tasty bird, this allow us to describe kestrels as cute, and surely very cute by comparison to birds of prey that hunt for hares, pheasants or even apes.

Available at Etsy, click here.

14 thoughts on “Common Kestrels with Nest (Falco tinnunculus)

  1. This is exquisite. I didn’t know all that about kestrels. Thanks for telling all. I’ve only seen one kestrels and would not have know it except that the lady who was walking in the park near me pointed it out. It was lovely. Funny how these little scenes in life stay with us.


    1. True, Jamie. I remember many first sightings of birds. You need somebody to tell you why this is a dove, that a crow and that other one a buzzard. Ones seen, you won’t miss them ever again. Learning on the ‘bird watching’ job. 🙂


  2. I don’t think I have ever seen a common kestrel but they do look really cute. Would love to know how the chicks look like. Paula, maybe you could visit this family again after the eggs have hatched?


  3. Another very beautiful and so-real-looking drawing, Paula!
    Yes, sometimes we can see Kestrels here around, but I see much more often Buteos (just every day). Maybe they are easier to see because they are bigger. (Or I should wear glasses when I look for birds?) 🙂


    1. Hi Sybille, Buteos are bigger and slower than falcons. No need for glasses, although a binocular might help to admire the beautiful feathers and big eyes of all falcons.
      Have a lovely weekend!


  4. I say again you would do very well illustrating a field guide to the birds, Paula…

    I’ve not seen a kestrel – yet. A few years ago, our state government was considering implementing a hunting season on mourning doves (which I very vocally opposed). One of the weaker arguments against it was that it is difficult to distinguish between a kestrel and a mourning dove. To me they seem such different creatures, but if that argument helped defeat the proposed hunting season, then okay!


    1. Sid, I agree! Kestrels and (your collard) doves are much different, although I understand why it is said: their plumage has a similar pattern. But their behaviour, flight pattern, and preferred locations are very different. However if that argument helps to defeat a proposed hunting season, I’m standing right next to you strongly defending it!


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