Wednesday, 23 October 2013

Nankeen Kestrel

It's Wednesday again and time for another Australian Bird.  This time it is the Nankeen Kestrel.  When I was returning from visiting Barra Fish Farm and on my way to my daughters home where I was staying, I saw something on a roof a long way off and so I had to investigate.  The road I took I knew lead into a farm and as I drew closer, I realised it was a Kestrel on the roof.  I parked the car and carefully got out with bins and telescope.  To my amazement, there were 4  Kestrels.


At first I stayed by the car but very slowly I made my way towards the birds and they didn't seem to be bothered.  I will tell you a little about the Kestrel throughout the photographs I took that day.


The Australian Kestrel or Nankeen Kestrel (Falco cenchroides) is one of the smallest falcons, and unlike many, does not rely on speed to catch its prey. Instead, it simply perches in an exposed position, but it also has a distinctive technique of hovering over crop and grasslands. This bird is thought to be a very close relative of the Common Kestrel,


A small, slim falcon 12 to 14 inches long, the Nankeen Kestrel is rufous or brown above and white or off-white below, with a black tail tip. Plumage varies considerably in detail, and some birds can look very scruffy, but the slim build, small size and distinctive straight-winged hovering habit make identification easy. It can be seen in Western Australia on coastal cliffs and windy conditions. Also seen on phone lines and power lines.


Diet is varied, with a large number of insects, but also small birds and reptiles, and in particular, small rodents, mostly mice.  Nankeen Kestrels are adaptable and hunt in a number of different ways: of these, simply perching in an exposed position (such as on a dead tree or a telephone pole) and watching for prey is the most common, but it is their habit of hovering motionless over crop and grasslands that is most distinctive.



Breeding
Jul.–Nov. in N, Aug.–Jan. in S. Uses old nest of another raptor or corvid; picks one in highest part of tall tree on thin branches just below the canopy.  Clutch 2–4. 


Incubation by female, except briefly by male after food delivery while female feeds nearby. Male does all hunting during incubation and for first 7–10 days after hatching. Young hatch in faintly pinkish white down; pale grey by 8 days; pale salmon-brown by 14 days; leave nest at 35–38 days .






 Compared with other falcons, flight is lighter, wandering, with erratic changes in direction, often stopping to hover, glide; wing beats are rapid and less powerful.  Hovers skilfully into wind with quick, shallow wing beats, or hangs with wings flexed, uplifted; drops suddenly to take prey in ground cover.




Usually silent, but quite noisy in early breeding season.  The sharp, high, almost metallic ‘ki-ki-ki’ has many variations, territorial defence, displays, fighting, approaching nest with food: ranges from fast, shrill, chattered ‘kikikik-’ to slower ‘kee-kee-kee,’ and very slow, metallic, tapping ‘kik, kik, kik’.  Also has a drawn out, screaming, rising ‘keeeiir, keeiir’ at food exchange and copulation.



Open habitats: woods, grassland, sparse scrub, heath, farms, roadsides and coastal dunes. Common, mainland Australia; non breeding visitor to Tasmania.






 I hope your enjoyed this Australian bird, the Nankeen Kestrel today.  If you wish to see any other posts with Australian birds, go into LABELS on the right hand column and click Australian birds (I spelt it wrong under labels!)

Many thanks for visiting today.  

Tomorrow I will continue with the birding I did with Eileen last week and if you need a bit of a laugh, look at my post tomorrow!

I am linking this post with Wild Bird Wednesday

44 comments:

  1. they are indeed a handsome raptor and you got some beautiful shots of them Margaret

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  2. Hi Carole Yes I have to agree. a handsome bird. Many thanks for your comment. Have a good evening.

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  3. Wonderful images and info Margaret... a beautiful little bird.

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    1. Hi Andrew Hope you are improving in health. I am glad you enjoyed both the bird and information. Thanks for your comment.

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  4. Excellent shots Margaret!
    They are such a pretty bird.
    The two together remind me of old friends who might have caught up with each other for a visit.:)

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    1. HI Carletta Yes the 2 bird do look like that. Glad you enjoyed this birds and thanks for comment.

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    1. HI Amanda Glad you liked the close ups. Thanks for comment.

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  6. wonderful shots, what a gorgeous bird they are, interesting info. :-)

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  7. HI Lynn Glad you enjoyed the Kestrel and information about it. Thanks for comment.

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  8. Absolutely beautiful...like they were posing for you for your photo session. And the eyes...they show up so well in your photos!!

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    1. HI Anii Yes they very very good posing for me. Glad you enjoyed the post and thanks for comment.

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  9. What an impressive falcon. My husband and I really did enjoy reading all about it...so educational for two people who knew nothing about the Kestrels. Such interesting habits, and your captures are awesome. This i smy first visit to our blog and I certainly enjoyed my stay. See you again soon. genie

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    1. HI Genie Many thanks for visiting my post today and I am very glad you and your husband enjoyed not only the photos but also the information. Just to let you know, every Wednesday I take 1 Australian bird and give a little info on it. (Usually) on Saturday, I take 1 bird from anywhere else in the world and do the same thing. Next Saturday will be a bit different. Hope to have you drop by again. Have a great day.

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  10. Sorry I forgot to answer your question...it is a titmouse. genie

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  11. Handsome birds! I love their North American cousins as well.

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    1. HI EG Glad you liked theaustralian Kestrels and many thaksfor your comment.

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  12. You have really gotten some amazing shots of these beautiful birds. such clarity and wonderful expressions that you have captured. Also, thank you Margaret for your supportive comments. Hugs to you from Texas

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    1. HI Jeanne very glad you enjoyed this beautiful bird and thanks for comment.

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  13. Such beautiful, sleek, fast looking creatures! blessings ~ tanna

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    1. HI tanna Glad you enjoyed the Kestrel. thanks for commnet.

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  14. That's a real beauty. Very much like our Common Kestrel.

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    1. HI Keith Glad you enjoyed thebeautiful Kestrel. Thanks for commnet

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  15. he has beautiful brown tones! i love the little kestrals.

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    1. HI Tex Glad you enjoyed thebeautiful tones of the Kestrel. Thanks for commnet

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  16. Oh gosh, what terrific shots of these handsome birds!

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    1. HI KarGlad you enjoyed this handsome Kestrel. Thanks for commneten

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  17. Margaret this is a lovely post. Firstly well done in spotting the bird, secondly glad you had your scope to hand to positively ID it and thirdly it looks like they put on a great show for you. You have captured the rustic tones of the plumage incredibly well..... superb post
    Dave

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    1. HI Dave I appreciate taking time to post your kind commenets and I am glad you enjoyed the post.

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  18. wow, that´s a beautiful couple. And such great shots you got. :)

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    1. HI NF Glad you enjoyed the Kestrel shots. Thanks for commnet

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  19. A gorgeous little bird. Yet another good thing in a small(ish) package.

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  20. How exciting you found a pair!! These look very much like the ones we have here. They are such a welcome sight. and rid areas of harmful insects.

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  21. Aren't they so fantastic, I love number 15 - the end, they are superb.

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  22. What a beautiful bird, and you got some amazing close-up shots.

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  23. beautiful close-ups offer so much detail of this magnificant bird!!

    i enjoyed reading about their breeding and eating habits. and how they look out for one another!!

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  24. Hi Margaret!
    But he is beautiful!
    His feathers are lovely colors.
    I marvel at a pair of birds.
    You did great photo.
    Greetings.
    Lucia

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  25. Fantastic photos Margaret, I especially loved that head on shot as he was looking at you. Such a gorgeous bird.

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  26. Love kestrels and these are some great pictures Margaret :-)

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  27. Fabulous series of photos of these handsome birds!

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  28. Beautiful birds - great informative post again Margaret with some good photos :)

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  29. Wonderful set of pictures - I see this bird on hunting around the edges of the freeways.

    The Titanic Building in your newest post is an impressive looking building.

    Cheers - Stewart M - Australia

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    1. Hi Stewart Gladyou liked the Kestrel post adn also the Titanic building.

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