Greater Kestrel | Falco rupicoloides
The Greater Kestrel is a Southern African bird that belongs to the Falconidae bird family group which includes birds such as Falcons.
The description for the Greater Kestrel (Latin name Falco rupicoloides) can be found in the 7th Edition of the Roberts Birds of Southern Africa. The Falco rupicoloides can be quickly identified by its unique Roberts identification number of 182 and the detailed description of this bird is on page 547. You will find a picture of the Greater Kestrel on page 529.
NOTE: The reference for the information following is "Roberts Birds of Southern Africa", 7th Edition*. This edition contained a number of taxonomic changes as well as changes to English names used traditionally and in earlier editions of most bird books in South Africa. The following paragraph notes such changes if any.
There have been no changes in the common name between the Roberts 6th and Roberts 7th Edition. There have been no changes in the Latin name for the Greater Kestrel between the Roberts 6th and Roberts 7th Edition
The Greater Kestrel is known in Afrikaans as Grootrooivalk.
The Greater Kestrel has a height of 36 cms and weighs around 275 gms. The head is coloured grey while the bill is coloured grey. The Falco rupicoloides has a black, grey coloured throat, yellow legs and a grey coloured back. The eyes are cream.
Take note of the bird's main distinguishing features such as colour, size and leg length relative to the body size of the bird. Colours of a bird's body parts can be helpful. Be aware what may appear brown to one person is described in Roberts Birds using some other word ... for example brown, black. See colours used in Roberts.
Head is grey
Eyes are cream
Bill is grey
Legs are yellow
Throat is black, grey
Back is grey
Feeding Habits ...
This bird forages for food on the ground
This bird hunts for small reptiles such as lizards, geckos and bush snakes. The Greater Kestrel strikes poisonous snakes on the head with one fatal blow which kills the snake instantly. There have been cases were this bird has been killed by a snake while hunting. Some birds have been blinded by Cobra venom.
The Falco rupicoloides attacks smaller birds in flight and uses its sharp claws to break the bird's neck. Some of the birds are attacked in their nests while others are killed on the ground. The Greater Kestrel eats the eggs of its victim.
This bird eats insects such as butterflies, bees, wasps, locusts and ants. These invertebrates are usually hawked aerially, killed and then eaten .
Breeding, Habitat and Nesting Habits ...
The Greater Kestrel is a monogamous bird which means that the bird finds and breeds with one partner for the rest of its life. The bird lays between 1 to 4 eggs and they are coloured cream.
The nest is built high up in the tree canopy and is protected from predators by branches and the dense green foligae.
The bird is mainly found in the Savanna grasslands where it breeds and feeds.
The bird is found in the African bushveld
Seen in Flocks, Singles or Pairs Normally ...
The Greater Kestrel is mainly seen singly or in pairs in the wild.
It is also seen in flocks
The reference for the information following is "Roberts Birds of Southern Africa", 7th Edition * edited by PAR Hockey, WRJ Dean and PG Ryan, published by "The Trustees of the John Voelcker Bird Book Fund."
copyright: Tony Roocroft +27-11-454-0105
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