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Common name Lesser kestrel
Scientific name Falco naumanni
Type Farmland birds
Status Summer

Predatory bird of small-medium size (approx 31 cm or 12 in). Males and females dress differently (sexual dimorphism). The males have a reddish back, without spots; their head and tail are bluish grey. The throat and underparts are cream-coloured with little dark spots. The females are dull in colour and lack the bluish grey and reddish plumage of the back. In general, the plumage of the Lesser Kestrel is mottled ocher. Wings and tail with dark tips (wingspan approx 72 cm or 2.5 ft). In both sexes the nails are white (in the Common Kestrel they are black) and the moustachial stripe is lacking or very little marked.


Cultivated areas

Where it lives

Colonial bird present in open areas, large crops, pastures and steppes with the presence of extensive livestock. It needs isolated constructions to build the colonies. Also in rocky pits and in towns, where it usually uses churches and towers.

How it lives

Bird present in Malaga mainly during the breeding season, although there are some wintering specimens or that already spend the whole year in the province. The Lesser Kestrel forms breeding colonies in agricultural buildings, abandoned farmhouses and urban places. The breeding starts in April, making an annual laying of 2 to 6 eggs. It feeds on insects of medium to large size, such as beetles, grasshoppers, crickets and locusts; but it also hunts small vertebrates such as lizards, rodents and birds and sometimes hunts in groups.

Where it can be seen in Malaga

Very localized species in the province but frequent where it is present. There are colonies in Campillos, Teba, Antequera, Ronda and Casares, for example. In the Great Path it can be watched in stages 16, 18, 24 and 28.

Curious facts

Although the term "primilla" is the exclusive surname of this species of kestrel in Spanish, in Málaga "primilla" is for almost any raptor of small size that is not a great eagle. A typical behaviour of the kestrels is their ability to stand in flight (swooping) to hunt prey on the ground. They stay still in the air, flapping their wings rhythmically and quickly. And this is something that other "primillas" do not do.

Similar birds
Wintering Summer Resident Migration