Fun Greater Kestrel Facts For Kids

Moumita Dutta
Oct 20, 2022 By Moumita Dutta
Originally Published on Aug 06, 2021
Edited by Monisha Kochhar
Greater kestrel facts are fascinating to learn about
Age: 3-18
Read time: 6.7 Min

If you have even the remotest interest to learn more about the birds of the world then you will love to know about the greater kestrel (Falco rupicoloides). This bird of prey is part of the falcon family and belongs to the order Falconiformes, family Falconidae, and genus Falco.

This bird may even be called by the name white-eyed greater kestrel. This falcon is found in southern and eastern Africa.

They are well adapted to the harsh conditions of the grasslands, savannas, and even semi-deserts. With over 100,000 such birds in the wild, it is good news that this species is thriving.

It is thus no surprise that this species is listed as Least Concern by the IUCN (International Union for conservation of nature). Being adept hunters, these birds tend to live sedentary lives, or they may even be nomadic or dispersive. The greater kestrel hunts invertebrates like grasshoppers, beetles, and termites.

They may even hunt bigger prey like lizards, snakes, and some mammals. Their hunting strategy involves being hidden, perched on trees.

This bird has feathers that are pale rufous in color. When trying to find them in the wild, you keep a lookout for their appearance or you can spot them by their high-pitched squeals.

For more relatable content, check out these peregrine falcon facts and flame bowerbird facts for kids.

Greater Kestrel Interesting Facts

What type of animal is a greater kestrel?

The greater kestrel (Falco rupicoloides) is a type of bird. There are subspecies of the greater kestrel, namely, F.r. rupicolodes, F. r. arthuri, and F. r. fieldi.

What class of animal does a greater kestrel belong to?

The greater kestrel (Falco rupicoloides) belongs to class Aves. Additionally, this bird belongs to the order Falconiformes, family Falconidae, and genus Falco.

How many greater kestrels are there in the world?

The greater kestrel bird of southern and eastern Africa has been listed as Least Concern by the International Union for Conservation of Nature or IUCN in the Red List of Threatened Species. Their population is stable and is around 100,000-200,000 pairs.

Where does a greater kestrel live?

The greater kestrel (Falco rupicoloides) is mostly found in the open country in southern and eastern Africa. This bird can be located in Namibia, Zimbabwe, Botswana, South Africa, and in selected parts of Zambia and Angola.

What is a greater kestrel's habitat?

The greater kestrel falcon prefers wide, open areas, and its habitat consists of open grasslands, semi-desert, and savannas. Areas with a ground cover of fewer than 1.65 ft (50 cm) are preferred by this bird for its habitat. In terms of altitude, they are found in the range of between sea level and up to 7,054 ft (2,150 m).

Who do greater kestrels live with?

While generally these kestrels from southern and eastern Africa have been observed to live alone, during the breeding season, they are spotted in pairs.

How long does a greater kestrel live?

The lifespan of the greater kestrel (Falco rupicoloides) has not been established yet. However, kestrels like the American kestrel can live in the wild for around five years and about 17 years in captivity. This can give us an approximate idea about the longevity of the greater kestrel.

How do they reproduce?

The breeding season of the greater kestrel (Falco rupicoloides) varies greatly according to its location. In Kenya and Tanzania, breeding occurs from April to July whereas in Somalia it is between April to August. Abandoned or old nests of birds like pied crow are used by the kestrels for breeding.

The breeding site is about 6.6-65.6 ft (2-2o m) above the ground. Three to four eggs are laid by the female kestrel.

At times, the number of eggs may be as high as seven. The female incubates the eggs and the incubation period lasts for about three weeks. The chicks aren't independent after birth and are dependent on their feeding for about 25 days more.

What is their conservation status?

The greater kestrel (Falco rupicoloides) of the family Falconidae has been listed as Least Concern by the International Union for Conservation of Nature or the IUCN in the Red List of Threatened Species. The greater kestrel population is stable.

Greater Kestrel Fun Facts

What do greater kestrels look like?

These birds of prey from Africa are pale rufous in color and have dark black bars on their body. Their upper wings and flanks are streaked with black bars as well.

Their tail and rump are gray in color. Their tail also consists of black bars and has a white tip. Their white iris is a feature that sets them apart from any similar species.

Greater kestrel, Falco rupicoloides, is among the fascinating birds of the world.

How cute are they?

The greater kestrel (Falco rupicoloides), with its pale rufous body and vibrant eyes, appears to be among the most majestic birds of the world.

How do they communicate?

The greater kestrel, Falco rupicoloides, communicates with others through bird calls. This bird is mostly silent but its bird calls are high-pitched and consist of squealing notes. Kestrels like the American kestrels communicate with calls like 'klee' and 'killy'. The 'klee' is used by both adult males as well as females to communicate with each other.

How big is a greater kestrel?

The adult greater kestrel (Falco rupicoloides) is one of the largest kestrels in the world. It has a length of about 11-15 in (28-38 cm). What is more startling is the greater kestrel (Falco rupicoloides) wingspan, which is between 29-33 in (73.7-83.8 cm) long. It is almost the same size or slightly bigger than an American kestrel.

How fast can a greater kestrel fly?

Not enough research has been conducted to calculate their flight or the speed of a greater kestrel. The American kestrel can have flight speeds up to 39 mph (63 kph). This can serve as an estimate of the speed of the greater kestrel (Falco rupicoloides).

How much does a greater kestrel weigh?

The greater kestrel (Falco rupicoloides) can weigh up to 9.2 oz (260 g).

What are the male and female names of the species?

The male greater kestrel (Falco rupicoloides) can sometimes be referred to as cock and the female greater kestrel (Falco rupicoloides) as a hen.

What would you call a baby greater kestrel?

A baby greater kestrel (Falco rupicoloides) can be referred to as chick or fledglings.

What do they eat?

The greater kestrel (Falco rupicoloides) perch from isolated trees or rocks. Kestrels are known for their impeccable hovering ability. A greater kestrel can locate its prey from very far distances. Most of the greater kestrel diet consists of termites, beetles, solifugids, and grasshoppers. The greater kestrel also feeds on small birds, snakes, mammals, and also lizards at times.

Are they dangerous?

The greater kestrel does not cause any harm to human beings. It is, however, a dangerous predator.

Would they make a good pet?

The greater kestrel (Falco rupicoloides) is a bird of prey. These birds cannot be kept as pets. They are kept in captivity only by master falconers. You also require an authorized license from the government.

Did you know...

The greater kestrel falcon is attracted to fires. It feeds on the various flies and insects that try to flee from the flames.

When they have excess food, the kestrel birds are known to store the food and stack it up underneath vegetation and stones. This stored food is mostly consumed on the same day that it is stored.

Kestrels have impeccable eyesight. This enables them to hunt for various prey until it is pitch dark.

The greater kestrel (Falco rupicoloides) is known as 'Grote torenvalk' in Dutch.

What are kestrels known for?

Kestrels are most commonly known for their habit of hovering at a height of 32-65 ft (10-20 m) over the open country while hunting or searching for their prey. These birds most commonly hunt from perches on trees.

Hunting by hovering uses up a lot of energy so it is not preferred by these birds. These birds of the Old World feed on large insects, lizards, worms, small birds by swooping down below from hovering.

They can spot their prey from 164 ft (50 m) away. Their distinct, mostly rufous-brown plumage also distinguishes these birds from their other family members.

Do kestrels hunt other birds?

Small prey like insects and rodents constitute the majority of the diet of kestrels. However, the kestrel bird species are also known to consume small birds and mammals. The kestrel mostly preys on birds of smaller size or fledglings inside the nest. Kestrels feed on small birds like robins, sparrows, skylarks, swifts, starlings.

Here at Kidadl, we have carefully created lots of interesting family-friendly animal facts for everyone to discover! Learn more about some other birds from our chimney swift facts and European robin facts pages.

You can even occupy yourself at home by coloring in one of our free printable greater kestrel coloring pages.


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Written by Moumita Dutta

Bachelor of Arts specializing in Journalism and Mass Communication, Postgraduate Diploma in Sports Management

Moumita Dutta picture

Moumita DuttaBachelor of Arts specializing in Journalism and Mass Communication, Postgraduate Diploma in Sports Management

A content writer and editor with a passion for sports, Moumita has honed her skills in producing compelling match reports and stories about sporting heroes. She holds a degree in Journalism and Mass Communication from the Indian Institute of Social Welfare and Business Management, Calcutta University, alongside a postgraduate diploma in Sports Management.

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