/kes"treuhl/, n.1. a common small falcon, Falco tinnunculus, of northern parts of the Eastern Hemisphere, notable for hovering in the air with its head to the wind.2. any of several related small falcons, as the American kestrel, F. sparverius.[1400-50; late ME castrell < MF quercerelle, metathetic var. of CRECERELLE, of disputed orig.]
* * *Kestrels prey on large insects, birds, and small mammals. The male is more colourful than the female. Kestrels are mainly Old World birds, but one species, the American kestrel (F. sparverius), often called the sparrow hawk in the U.S., is common throughout North and South America. It is about 12 in. (30 cm) long, white or yellowish below, and reddish brown and slate-gray above with colourful markings on the head. The common kestrel (F. tinnunculus) of the Old World is larger and less colourful. See also falcon.Male common kestrel (Falco tinnunculus).Werner LayerBruce Coleman Ltd.
* * *▪ birdany of several small birds of prey of the genus Falco (family Falconidae (falcon)) known for their habit of hovering while hunting. Kestrels prey on large insects, birds, and small mammals. They exhibit sexual colour dimorphism, rare among hawks: the male is the more colourful. Kestrels are mainly Old World birds, but one species, the American kestrel (F. sparverius), called sparrow hawk in the United States, is common throughout the Americas. The American kestrel is about 30 cm (12 inches) long, white or yellowish below, reddish brown and slate gray above with colourful markings on the head.The common kestrel (F. tinnunculus; see photograph—>), ranging over most of the Old World and sometimes called the Old World, Eurasian, or European kestrel, is slightly larger than the American kestrel but less colourful. It is the only kestrel in Britain, where it is called “windhover” from its habit of hovering while heading into the wind, watching the ground for prey. The Australian kestrel, F. cenchroides, is also called a sparrow hawk.
* * *