The common kestrel is one of the most common birds of prey here and in Central Europe. It is characterized by sexual dimorphism. Males and females differ not only in color but also in size. The male is a bit smaller, having a bluish-gray round head and a thin tail with a black tip. Its back is of rusty color with black dots. The wing tips are also black. The female is mostly brown with black spots and yellow legs.
It is found throughout the territory of Slovakia, from the lowlands to the alpine area. The kestrel enjoys open landscapes such as fields, meadows, and pastures and avoids dense forests. Since it does not build its nests, kestrels nest in various places, such as rocks, quarries, buildings, and castle ruins. It occupies old nests of larger birds, installed birdhouses, and even on the balconies of panel houses.
Our kestrels are sedentary, migratory, and also partially migratory. Some individuals winter in Africa, while others travel shorter distances. During the winter, it is mainly older individuals that stay with us.
In nature, we can observe kestrels sitting on trees, utility poles, or power lines, by the roads, in fields and meadows. It is popularly called “pustovka” or “postolka” (*in Slovak language).
Its Slovak generic name – “mysiar” is associated with its main food source – small rodents, especially mice and voles. The kestrel’s diet also includes other small mammals, reptiles, amphibians, large insects, mollusks, worms, and sometimes smaller bird species.
Do you know?
The common kestrel's ability to see ultraviolet radiation helps it recognize the urinary traces of rodents and identify them more easily whilst hunting.