Kestrel does Qualcast

Kestrels. Frequently seen hovering above motorway verges and over open countryside, their behaviour normally associated with the search for mammalian prey. Kestrels’ diets are not restricted entirely to mammals, though, and as well as small birds, they frequently feed on insects. These are taken to varying extents, depending on range/location and food availability and they can form a considerable proportion of diet in some cases, with beetles, dragonflies, grasshoppers, moths recorded as frequently being taken. The implication, though, is that they are taken on the ground after being spotted through hovering, or from a stationary perch.

Kestrel catching insect in talons and consuming it in mid-air, Sywell CP, May 2018 (Roland Bogush)

However, as Roland Bogush’s excellent sequence of shots, above, illustrates, insects are also taken and eaten in flight. This bird was observed aerial hunting last week at Sywell Country Park. It’s not a behaviour I have knowingly seen in this country by I have observed it in migrants in Israel. So, Kestrel clearly joins prolific aerial hunters, Lesser Kestrel, Red-footed Falcon and Hobby in capturing insects in mid-air. Cruising around, picking up insects? It must surely be a lot less bovver than a hover …

2 thoughts on “Kestrel does Qualcast

  1. You’re showing your age, Mike, if you remember that advertising slogan, as I do! I am pleased my picture was of interest, thanks for posting it.

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