Note:  Do not rely on this information. It is very old.


Kestrel (Falco tinnunculus), a common British raptorial bird, migrating southward in winter. The adult male is about a foot long, reddish-brown marked with black above, light rufous spotted with black below; head, neck, and rump, bluish-grey. The female is slightly larger, and has reddish plumage barred with black. The kestrel is also called the windhover, from its balancing itself in the air by the rapid motion of its wings, and stannel (said to be a corruption of stand-gale) because it always keeps its head to the wind. Kestrels are decidedly farmers' friends, for they prey chiefly on mice and insects. There are many closely allied forms, sometimes separated from the genus Falco, and placed in a separate genus or sub-genus, Tinnunculus.