Lesser Kestrel (Falco naumanni) Peneireiro-das-torres

A migratory falcon that breeds and migrates colonially, Lesser Kestrels are a fascinating species. They prefer insects to larger prey and, unlike their cousin the Common Kestrel, they do not hover for long, seldom more than five or ten seconds, before gliding on to hover again somewhere else.

The females of the two species are so similar as to be difficult to tell apart in the field on plumage clues alone, but the underwing is less marked in the Lesser Kestrel than in the Common and the moustachial stripe is also less distinct. 

The male is a different matter as it has a blue head and an absence of a moustachial stripe, both of which are usually easily visible. The upper wing is unmarked in the adult and there is also a small blue panel on the trailing edge at the base of the upper wing, but this is seldom seen; a much more useful diagnostic feature is the near absence of flecking on the underwing, which at times can almost appear totally white. 

Their behaviour is also markedly different from a Common Kestrel in that, quite apart from the shorter hover, because they are both migratory and communal nesters, if one sees more than three Kestrels in close proximity they are more than likely to be Lessers.

Birding in Portugal

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7665-880 Santa Clara a Velha

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