Lesser Kestrel / Falco naumanni / عويسق

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The Lesser Kestrel is in the Falconidae family in the Accipitriformes order. The bird is named after J.F.Naumann, a German naturalist considered to be the founder of European ornithology. It is 29-32 cm in size, 100-200 grams in weight and with a wingspan of 58-72 cm. The male has a reddish brown back and a light colored tail with a dark terminal bar. The head is a grayish-blue, the chest and abdomen has a pink tinge that is lightly spotted with black. The female resembles the male however her stomach and back are spotted, the tail is barred, the head is brown with light cheeks and in most cases there is no mustachial stripe, or it is very faint. In flight the male is identified by his bright colors, the dark "fingers" as contrasted to the light flight feathers. The female lesser kestrel resembles the female kestrel and is identified by pointier wings and light colored talons as compared to the black talons of the kestrel. The Lesser Kestrel is among the most social of the falcons. it hunts in flocks, roosts communally and nests in colonies. The lesser kestrel has a high, hoarse three syllabic call which distinguishes it from the kestrel. Nesting colonies are usually found in mountainous regions, with steep ravines but also in houses with tiled roofs. Nesting colonies are always close to "hunting grounds": open fields and grasslands where its prey can be found, insects and arthropods in particular. The lesser kestrel breeds in southern Europe, northern Africa, and a small population is known to breed in Asia, in north China and between Iran and Mongolia. The breeding in this region has been declining in 20% since 2000.  Secondary poisoning, destruction of nesting sites and the decrease in hunting sites are among the major factors endangering this species.

International conservation status: LC , Regional conservation status: VU

Migratory behaviour: Breeding