Photo by Mpho Phiri
Today I was quite surprised to see a picture of a Kestrel on my South African internet friend Mpho Phiri's blogsite, Mafikeng Birding Blog. Once again I have been reminded how much I have to learn as a birder. I naively thought that Kestrels were only found in the Americas. Well, that's true when it comes to the American Kestrel. The trouble is they're are 12 other kinds of Kestrels in the world, particularly in Africa, but also in Europe, Asia, India, Australia, Indonesia, and other exotic places like Madagascar, The Seychelles and Mauritius. And Africa is where it all started a zillion years ago and where the most Kestrel species live today. Mpho's photograph, above, is of a Lesser Kestrel, Falco naumanni. The Kestrel is also known as the Windhover because it requires a slight headwind in order to hover, which is central to its hunting style. Kestrels prefer to hover and then drop or swoop down to take prey on the ground, whereas other falcons are apt to take prey on the wing. Below is a photograph I took, a week or so ago, of an American Kestrel. Because of its poor focus quality, I never intended to use it but have decided to do so since the subject has arisen. Thanks to Mpho and Wikipedia for expanding my horizons.