montage of foxes, a thistle and a kestrel
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The Kestrel is a small, chestnut brown bird of prey that is frequently seen hovering over grassland. The hooked bill is a bluish colour with yellow cere, with yellow legs.

The male (or tercel) Kestrel has black-spotted chestnut brown upperparts, and a blue-grey head and tail. The tail has a single black bar at the tip. Underneath, the breast and belly are buff coloured with black spots.

The female (or falcon) is darker than the male and the back, mantle and wings all have black barring. The tail has black barring along its length. The creamy underparts are more heavily streaked in black than the male. Occasionally, the head and tail may be tinged with grey.

Juveniles are like females.

Kestrels are similar in size to the Sparrowhawk but have more pointed wings. They are not fast or powerful fliers, and their wing beat is rather "flappy", but they can hover effortlessly for long periods of time by rapidly beating their wings while facing into headwind and matching the air speed precisely.

Where to see it:

You will see Kestrels frequently hovering above fields and grassland hunting for mice and voles virtually all along the West Highland Way.  It’s quite a common sight , but great to see the bird hovering, staying in the exact same spot in the air while hunting, and is a beautiful looking bird.

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