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Lesser Kestrel

Lesser Kestrel
Photo Information
Copyright: Peter van Zoest (PeterZ) Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 5137 W: 166 N: 13121] (49139)
Genre: Animals
Medium: Color
Date Taken: 2010-07-10
Categories: Birds
Camera: Nikon D300, AF Nikkor 70-300mm f4-5.6 G, Digital RAW
Exposure: f/7.1, 1/200 seconds
More Photo Info: [view]
Photo Version: Original Version
Theme(s): Outstanding [view contributor(s)]
Date Submitted: 2011-08-28 5:11
Viewed: 3330
Points: 70
[Note Guidelines] Photographer's Note
The Lesser Kestrel (Falco naumanni) is a small falcon. This species breeds from the Mediterranean across southern central Asia to China and Mongolia. It is a summer migrant, wintering in Africa and Pakistan and sometimes even to India and Iraq. It is rare north of its breeding range, and declining in its European range. The scientific name of this bird commemorates the German naturalist Johann Andreas Naumann.

It is a small bird of prey, 27–33 cm in length with a 63–72 cm wingspan. It looks very much like the larger Common Kestrel but has proportionally shorter wings and tail. It shares a brown back and barred grey underparts with the larger species. The male has a grey head and tail like male Common Kestrels, but lacks the dark spotting on the back, the black malar stripe, and has grey patches in the wings.
The female and young birds are slightly paler than their relative, but are so similar that call and structure are better guides than plumage. The call is a diagnostic harsh chay-chay-chay, unlike the Common Kestrel's kee-kee-kee. Both sexes do not have dark talons as usual in falcons; those of this species are a peculiar whitish-horn color. This, however, is only conspicuous when seen birds at very close range, e.g. in captivity.

The Lesser Kestrel is, as the name implies, a smaller and more delicate bird than the Common Kestrel, and it is entirely sympatric in its breeding range with it; they compete to a limited extent. Thus, the possibility that there is some form of adaptive advantage to the similar coloration deserves study.

Considering that the Lesser Kestrel would in fact have an advantage if some would-be predators confuse it with the larger species and consequently avoid it, it might be a case of Müllerian mimicry. (Müllerian mimicry is a natural phenomenon when two or more harmful species, that may or may not be closely related and share one or more common predators, have come to mimic each other's warning signals.)

The Lesser Kestrel eats insects, but also small birds, reptiles and rodents (especially mice), which are often taken on the ground. It nests colonially on buildings, cliffs, or in tree holes, laying up to 3-6 eggs. No nest structure is built, which is typical for falcons. Recent surveys (January 2007) by LPO have revealed that in their wintering grounds, Lesser Kestrels roost communally - sometimes in huge numbers. A roost discovered in Senegal during one of these surveys held 28,600 birds, together with 16,000 Scissor-tailed Kites Chelictinia riocourii.

It is widespread and plentiful on a global scale, but in many areas of its range, it seems to be undergoing a marked and possibly accelerating decline. The IUCN has thus classed it as a vulnerable species . This means that the global population and range have declined by some 30% in the last 10 years, and is expected to continue to do so for at least another decade. Apart from possible habitat destruction, it appears that indiscriminate use of pesticides has a strong effect on this species due to its insectivorous habits.

Source: Wikipedia

maurydv, jurek1951, Tamrock, pegos, bungbing, PaulLees, BREARD, cobra112, Dis. Ac., siggi, marius-secan, buscape, manuel75, paolo49, Pitoncle, anel, jaycee, eqshannon, Pentaxfriend, peter_stoeckl has marked this note useful
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Critiques [Translate]

Hallo Peter,
a fantastic portrait of the Lessere Kestrel, superb sharpness and fine details on the plumage, very beautiful colours, excellent point of view and composition
Best regards

Hallo Peter,
A perfectly focused portrait of this kestrel.The colours are natural and well saturated.The POV and DOF are excellent.The details are razor sharp.The plumage is amazing.Excellent eye contact.
Gruss Georg

hi peter!
nice one on this very fine bird!
little hard light but its working
sharpness and composition is fine
well done!

  • Great 
  • pegos Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Note Writer [C: 222 W: 0 N: 356] (1982)
  • [2011-08-28 6:11]

Hello Peter,
a great capture!!
Splendid image with excellent sharpness and light ; very beautiful and natural colors; a composition very well done!
Thanks for sharing

Hello Peter,
A beautiful shot of The Lesser Kestrel with superb clarity, good lighting, lovely eye-contact and very good sharpness,
Thanks for sharing and have a nice Sunday,
Best Regards,

Peter, Hello my Friend!
Just Fantastic!... As posing for you!... I like a lot the "feel" in this shot!... Also a great focuas and perfectly managed light for a gorgeus plumage textures. Well done MF!... A grea shot, with a difficult and well resolved composition!

hallo Peter
Mooie scherpe opname met veel details
de kleuren zijn echt super goed
bedankt groetjes lou

Hi Peter, Fabulous capture of this Lesser Kestrel with a look inquisitiveness hmmm, excellent exposure/white balance control, lovely natural colours, splendid sharpness with good feather texture, terrific picture here Peter and very well done,
Best regards,


Bonjour Peter,
Est ce toi qu'il observe ? Un beau portrait avec une très belle netteté.

Ciao Peter. Magnificent dynamic portrait for the cute one. Perfect light and brilliant colours. Excellent details MF!


Hello Peter,

What strikes me are the wonderful details in the plumage, both colour wise and concerning sharpness!
And the bird gives such a fine pose, a proud bird with a curious tilt of the head...
A well composed presentation of high quality!

Pablo -

Hello Peter
Amazoning photo!The compozition,the colors and the sharpnes are excellent.

Hallo Peter,

alweer een zeer mooie foto uit Walsrode.
Uitstekende scherpte, goed gezichtsveld en achtergrond.
Prachtige kleuren.


  • Great 
  • siggi Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 3097 W: 109 N: 12399] (52850)
  • [2011-08-28 11:02]

Hello Peter.
A lovely capture of this beautiful kestrel. A very good composition with a nice BG and sharp details.
Best regards Siggi

Hello Peter,
Spectacular image with brilliant colors and amazing clarity.
The razor sharp details are excellent.
Wonderful contrast against the dark background.
Thanks for sharing!

Hello Peter,
great capture of this Falcon with beautiful colours and good sharpness with splendid details. I especially like your well chosen POV and the fine contrast against the dark background.
Best wishes,

Hi Peter,
Wow! This falco is simply fantastic!
Superp pose, wonderful naturals colours and nice composition.
Sharpness and light management are excellent.

  • Great 
  • nagraj Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 1618 W: 106 N: 3208] (15166)
  • [2011-08-29 0:41]

Fine closeup of the kestrel with good expression, lovely image. tfs.

Ciao Peter, lovely Falco in nice pose on a beautiful blurry BG, splendid light, wonderful natural colors, fine details and excellent sharpness, very well done my friend, ciao Silvio

Hello Peter, excellent detailed photo and good composition. Interesting species. A very good image. Regards Paolo

Hello Peter
Interesting species and beautiful photo with good composition, wonderful colours and good sharpness.

Hello Peter!
How cute bird! What a look! Maybe he's thinking of you: "what does this gay is doing?" Wonderful pic, wonderful sharpness and wonderful colors.Gorgeous shot! Congarts and TFS!
Best wishes,

PS:Thanks for visiting my gallery! I appreciated it!

Bonjour Peter,
Très belle posture du sujet saisie à l'instant décisif dans une belle lumière et sous une excellente profondeur de champ.
A bientôt sur TN pour de nouvelles aventures.

Hello Peter,
Wonderful close up captured in good lighting with great sharp details. Colours, POV and OOF BG are also excellent. Well done!

I wonder how you take such capture, for me is a very nice shot, congratulations Peter!

have a nice evening,

ciao, tino

Hallo Peter,
Weereens 'n skitterende voëlfoto van jou. Die kleure en definisie is uit 'n ander wêreld en die beligting is fantasties. Welgedaan!! Groete.

  • Great 
  • anel Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Note Writer [C: 3053 W: 3 N: 8715] (40574)
  • [2011-08-30 2:37]

Hello Peter,
What a cute way to look of this beautiful Falco! It seemed so curious about the person taking the picture. Well taken shot with good sharpness and a fine vertical framing. Ideal dark background too as contrast. Well seen and done!
Kind regards

  • Great 
  • jaycee Gold Star Critiquer/Silver Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 2454 W: 10 N: 8044] (25460)
  • [2011-08-30 9:53]

Hi Peter,

Another magnificent portrait! This looks like a studio shot with the Kestrel posing just for you. The cocked head and the expression on the face are priceless. The colors and details of the face, plumage, and even the feet are excellent. I love the composition and the black background.


Cute pose. It most certainly is not afraid. I'm certain you are most pleased with this bird Peter. I have seen an Americanized Kestral up in my wilderness,, but both times close in and without camera. Very good on the tight in feathers eh?

Peter, this is certainly a great shot of this krestrel. Outstanding sharpness and detail. Have a great day, Bill

Hi Peter,
Another fantastic image from you. The details in the feathers are outstanding. Great eye contact. Thi is an excellant presentation of an outstanding Raptor species.
Well done.

Excelente luz y pose del ave. Gran naturalidad del conjunto.
Saludos Peter.

Ha Peter,
Prachtig shot van deze Torenvalk
Scherpte, kleur, details en achtergrond zijn perfect

TFS Thijs

  • Great 
  • foozi Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Note Writer [C: 2791 W: 0 N: 6696] (25839)
  • [2011-09-06 0:21]

Hello Peter,
very lovely shot with the colors of the feathers so pleasant. Nice light hitting the breast giving an attractive presentation.
i like the slight glance of the head.
Beautiful view.


Hi Peter,
a truly charming pose and expression in this touching portrait of a Kestrel, making it appear very lively, alert, intelligent, and full of positive spirits! I love the marvellous details and the incredible smoothness of colouration achieved under quite hard light conditions, turning the beam of sunlight into a very helpful instrument to model the bird's smooth shape, and to accent its beak in a funny and stunningly threedimensional way. Thank you!
With best regards,

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