Bird Families

Steppe kestrel

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Steppe kestrel (Falco naumanni) smaller than the common kestrel, the upper part of the body is without spots (in the male), the nails are light. The species is characterized by pronounced sexual dimorphism. Adult females are rufous, with longitudinal dark brown streaks on the head and underside of the body, with grayish (usually) tail feathers, striated or with a blurred transverse pattern, dark brown flight feathers with a wide whitish transverse pattern on the inner webs, sometimes merging into a continuous transverse field ... Adult males with a gray head, brick-red not mottled back, shoulders and wing coverts, gray upper tail, primary flight feathers are dark brown with a white field on the inner webs, secondary flight feathers are gray, inner ones - with red edges, elytra are buffy with black spots, tail feathers gray with a black preapical stripe and a white apical border, the ventral side is buffy with a more or less developed brown longitudinal pattern. Small coverts, and sometimes medium and part of large coverts, are often gray-gray, occasionally there are individuals with a strong distribution of gray-gray on the shoulders and wings. In the second annual plumage, the crown of males is rufous with longitudinal streaks, sometimes there are brown streaks on the back, the ventral side with longitudinal brown spots. In all outfits, the waxen, the ring around the eye and the paws are yellow, the beak is blue-horny, darkening at the apex, the eyes are dark brown, and the claws are whitish (which differs well from the common kestrel).

Habitat

Steppe kestrel - migratory, in some areas sedentary species, common in Central Asia, North Africa and Southern Europe. She hibernates in sub-Saharan Africa. In Italy, the breeding population is over 3,000 pairs.

The steppe kestrel is a pronounced social species, which is especially manifested when the birds settle for the night: in the summer, in the pre-nuptial period, the size of colonies can reach 1,600 individuals.

In many parts of the European range, there is a decline in the Kestrel population due to changes in hunting grounds, pesticide contamination and the redevelopment of old buildings used for nesting.

Food

Steppe kestrel mainly entomophagous: it feeds on large flying insects (Orthoptera: locusts, filly, beetles and dragonflies), also arachnids, lizards, small rodents, and occasionally small birds. The steppe kestrel usually hunts in open areas.

Reproduction

The Steppe Kestrel nests in coastal and inland rocky areas up to 1,000 meters above sea level. Reproduction begins late in her (with the massive appearance of insects). Mating and mating flight occurs in late May and even early June. Nests are located in stones, rocks, ruins, and even under roofs, in river clay cliffs, in hollows, in burrows (rolling rollers, etc.). Most often, the steppe kestrel nests in colonies ranging in number from several pairs to several dozen, but there are also single pairs. Often colonies are mixed with the common kestrel. The number of eggs in a clutch is 3-7, more often 4-5. They are similar to the eggs of the common kestrel in color: yellowish-red with darker brick-red streaks or ocher with a reddish-brown pattern. Both parents incubate the clutch; the male replaces the female at noon. Duration of incubation is 28-29 days. The nesting period lasts a little more than a month, the young start flying at the age of 28 days. During the nesting period, only the male catches prey, and the female distributes food between the chicks.

Description

It looks like a common kestrel, slightly smaller. The male differs from the male kestrel in a brick-red top without streaks, a distinct blue tint of the head, tail, a bluish-gray stripe on the wing, the underside of the wing is very light, almost white, there are no streaks on the flight feathers or they are barely noticeable, on the lower wing coverts there are few streaks or almost not, the apex of the wing is blackened, the tail is slightly wedge-shaped, mainly due to the elongation of the middle pair of tail feathers. The spotting of the lower body is much less pronounced than that of the common kestrel, and may be absent altogether. The female differs from the female of the common kestrel in a slightly wedge-shaped tail, but in some birds this is weakly expressed. The streaks are smaller, the tips of the wings are distinctly dark. Juveniles are very similar to the female, have more distinct streaks in all parts of the plumage. Males, females and juveniles have white claws. Dimensional dimorphism is small. One-year-old males do not have a bluish-gray stripe on the wing; some of the tail feathers are striped, juvenile, change to bluish-gray during the summer of the 2nd calendar year. They "shake" less often than common kestrels. Weight of males 90-180, females - 135-210 g, length 29-33, male wing 22.9-24.6, females - 22.5-25.1, span 58-75 cm. //

Spread

Mainly steppes and semi-deserts from southwestern Europe and northwestern Africa to Mongolia. Quite rare everywhere. They nest in a small number in our steppes, including in the mountains, where they are more common (South-Western Transbaikalia, Altai), in the extreme south of the forest-steppe.

Biology

The Steppe Kestrel is a breeding migrant. Inhabits steppes with rocky outcrops or clay-rocky cliffs, in low mountains with rocky gorges, and in the foothills of the main ridges. Prefers landscapes of grassy plains and hills with an abundance of locusts and other insects. In spring it appears mainly in April. Flies in sparse flocks or in small groups. Nests in colonies of one to two dozen birds, but separately nesting pairs are also not uncommon. The steppe kestrel builds its nest in the niches of rocks or clay cliffs, between stones, or in cavities under bridges, in old houses, kennels or burial grounds. Does not use any special materials in the construction of the nest. Sometimes nests in old nests of turtle doves. Clutches of 2-7 (usually 4-5) eggs occur in late April - May or early June (perhaps the first breeding pairs nest so late). Basically, the female incubates, but the male replaces her for a short time (males have a brood spot) and brings food. Incubation lasts 24-28 days. In the same colony at the same time you can find nests with fresh eggs and young growth of different ages. Both parents feed juveniles, which are born in late May - June and fledge at the age of 35-40 days, in July - August. Repeated nesting in case of loss of the first clutch is possible. Autumn migration to the south begins in August. During migration, the steppe kestrel gathers in sparse flocks during feeding, but flies in dense flocks of several dozen birds. //

Sources of information

Gavrilov E. I., Gavrilov A. E. "The Birds of Kazakhstan". Almaty, 2005. E. I. Gavrilov. "Fauna and distribution of birds in Kazakhstan". Almaty, 1999. V.K. Ryabitsev. "Birds of the Urals, Urals and Western Siberia". Ekaterinburg. Publishing house of the Ural University, 2000.

Steppe kestrel

  • Superclass Tetrapoda Class Birds Aves
  • Order Falconiformes, or diurnal birds of prey - Falconiformes
  • Family Falcon - Falconidae
  • Rod Falcon - Falco

The steppe kestrel - Falco naumanni Fleischer - is very similar to the common kestrel, but smaller and slender, the flight is easier, does not shake in the air, and the male is brighter. Claws are white, whiskers are completely invisible.

It enters the territory of Russia in the region of the mountain-steppe landscapes of Dagestan and Kabardino-Balkaria. Accidental encounters in the steppe part of the Don basin, in the Urals and southern Urals. The most stable population is in Tuva. The kestrel inhabits various types of plain landscapes of steppes and semi-deserts, penetrates into the southern steppes and forest-steppe. It settles in colonies of up to several dozen pairs. Solitary nesting is rare and predominantly in the mountains. It nests in crevices and niches of rocky outcrops, in rocks and burrows of coastal cliffs and ravines. He does not build nests, but places masonry on rocks, on river clay cliffs, in hollows, holes, on trees in the nests of other birds (raptors, crows, magpies, etc.). There are 4-5 eggs in a clutch.

Orthoptera, beetles, dragonflies dominate in the diet, rodents and reptiles make up a significant proportion, and occasionally small birds. Makes long migrations, winters in Africa, South Asia.

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