Rock Kestrel | Falco rupicolus
The Rock Kestrel is a Southern African bird that belongs to the Falconidae bird family group which includes birds such as Falcons.
The description for the Rock Kestrel (Latin name Falco rupicolus) can be found in the 7th Edition of the Roberts Birds of Southern Africa. The Falco rupicolus can be quickly identified by its unique Roberts identification number of 181 and the detailed description of this bird is on page 546. You will find a picture of the Rock 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. The Latin name for this bird is Falco tinnunculus in the Roberts 6th Edition.
The Rock Kestrel is known in Afrikaans as Kransvalk.
The Rock Kestrel has a height of 33 cms and weighs around 230 gms. The head is coloured blue, grey while the bill is coloured grey. The Falco rupicolus has a grey coloured throat, yellow legs and a grey, blue coloured back. The eyes are brown.
The male Falco rupicolus has physical features that are slightly different from the female bird.
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 blue, grey
Eyes are brown
Bill is grey
Legs are yellow
Throat is grey
Back is grey, blue
Feeding Habits ...
This bird forages for food on the ground
This bird hunts for small reptiles such as lizards, geckos and bush snakes. The Rock 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 rupicolus 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 Rock Kestrel eats the eggs of its victim.
The diet includes small mammals such as rabbits, field mice and other rodents. Rodents are usually taken from the ground and killed using the sharp claws. The Rock Kestrel uses its hard bill to tear up the flesh.
Breeding, Habitat and Nesting Habits ...
The Rock 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 6 eggs and they are coloured red.
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 found in the arid and semi-arid regions of Southern Africa and it can withstand high day and night temperatures
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 Rock Kestrel is mainly seen singly or in pairs in the wild.
This bird is usually seen in small family groups or in large 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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