Kestrels flying free

There are three different kestrels in these images, all are stunning birds and easy to distinguish from each other. ‘Flying free’ seems like the right theme for this week’s post, as regular readers will understand.

 

Nankeen Kestrel (Falco cenchroides) – male
1/1250, f7.1, ISO 800

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The kestrel above is a delightfully scruffy looking male. His feathers are worn, his head is grey and the markings on his back are subtle. He was searching for food above ocean cliffs where he was buffeted by the salty winds.

 

Nankeen Kestrel (Falco cenchroides) – female
1/1250, f7.1, ISO 800

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The female kestrel, above and below, has feathers that look in pristine condition. She was hunting alongside the male in the first image but flew further along the cliff, away from the spray.

 

Nankeen Kestrel (Falco cenchroides) – female
1/1250, f7.1, ISO 800

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Female kestrels have more rufous colouring particularly on their tails and heads along with more distinct black markings on their tails and backs; this can be clearly by comparing the above images of the male and female. She is a magnificent looking bird. I like that she dropped down in search of prey until the background became paddocks and scrub.

 

Nankeen Kestrel (Falco cenchroides)
1/2500, f6/3, ISO 800

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The image above was taken on a different day. I initially thought it was a male but the light shining through its tail shows dark bars other than the well-defined black band so I think it’s a female. Sometimes kestrels seem to pause for a moment before pouncing on their prey, at other times they drop with such incredible speed that it’s hard to believe they don’t injure themselves.

Happy birding

Kim

 

UPDATES
Birdlife Australia Photography Group’s Digital Photography in the Bush is coming up in March –  Details and registration information

The duck shooting season is due to start in March, the duck rescue team would welcome new volunteers – Coalition Against Duck Shooting

 

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