Friday, July 6, 2018

Greater Kestrel

The greater kestrel is one of the largest kestrels. It is also known as the white-eyed kestrel because the whitish iris of the eye distinguishes it from birds of similar species. 
Greater kestrel
Good view of the white iris and of the bill and cere. 
We saw them in Etosha NP in Namibia near the Nebrownii waterhole on two occasions. The first was right after sunrise when it was still quite dark, our first stop after leaving Okaukuejo. There were two of them. We came back later that morning and saw one of them in the same tree, feeding on a small bird which we saw it catch on the ground and then fly into the tree. 
In the early morning light. 
The foot of the small bird being eaten is visilble. 
The plumage is pale rufous, above and below. The flanks, upper wing and back are barred with black. The breast has dark streaks and the head is streaked, but no malar stripe like the common and lesser kestrels. The rump and tail are grey with black bars and the tail has a white tip. The bill is blue-grey and the feet and cere (covering of the base of the bill) are yellow. 

There are three subspecies. We saw the southern subspecies, F.r. rupicoloides, found in Namibia, Botswana, Zimbabwe, parts of Angola and Zambia and much of South Africa. F.r. arthuri is found in Kenya and northern Tanzania and F.r. fieldi is found in Ethiopia, Eritrea and northern Somalia. 
Map from Wikipedia. 
I had a hard time identifying it. I was initially identifying it as a tawny eagle, which didn't seem right because of the size, and I thought, maybe it was bigger than I thought it was. I even saw pictures of the same bird mislabeled as tawny eagles. 

1 comment:

  1. Wonderful photos of the wing markings in the first two and last pictures in the post.