Lesser Kestrel

On a trip to the town of Ronda, perched high on both sides of a huge ravine, I actually came across three species of birds I had not seen before: the Lesser Kestrel, Alpine Chough and Crag Martin.

Equipped for cultural and urban sights, I nevertheless managed to get one semi-reasonable shot of the Lesser Kestrel. The gorge is huge, and the birds were a long way off which didn’t help. Better than no shots!

The Lesser Kestrel, Falco naumanni, is a small falcon and breeds from the Mediterranean across Afghanistan and Central Asia, to China and Mongolia. It is a summer migrant, generally wintering in Africa and Pakistan.

Lesser Kestrel

It is a small bird of prey, 27–33 cm (11–13 in) in length with a 63–72 cm (25–28 in) wingspan. It is fairly similar in appearance to the larger common kestrel but has shorter wings and tail. The male has a grey head and tail like male common kestrels, but lacks the dark spotting on the back, the black malar (cheek) stripe, and has grey patches in the wings.

The Lesser Kestrel eats a lot of insects, but will also feast on small birds, reptiles and mice). It nests on buildings, cliffs, or in tree holes, laying up to 3–6 eggs. As is common with falcons, no nest structure is built.

There were several of these birds on the opposite side (naturally) of the gorge, so too far away for photos with a short lens. Would probably struggle with a long lens, to be fair.

Ronda 1

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