A familiar sight with its pointed wings and long tail, hovering beside a roadside verge. Numbers of kestrels declined in the 1970s, probably as a result of changes in farming and so it is included on the Amber List. They have adapted readily to man-made environments and can survive right in the centre of cities.
The whole of the western and northern European Kestrel population suffered severe declines between the 1950’s and late 1960’s due to farm chemicals. Numbers recovered, but more recently there have been further declines. There appears to be little evidence of any significant local decline however. Numbers appear to have remained fairly stable between 1994 and 2010. Gaps in the map are where they’d be expected – in the Forest of Dean and the larger conurbations. Most favoured areas are in the eastern half of the county, presumably due to good feeding habitat, although there are less in seemingly equally suitable parts of the Severn Vale.
Size, habitat and diet
Weight: M: 190g F: 220g
World distribution: Eurasia, Africa
Habitat: Open grassland, heath, farmland, towns
Diet: Chiefly small mammals, also insects and lizards (esp in warmer areas)
Kestrel and Merlin (BTO)