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Common Kestrel Falco tinnunculus   - Immature female
Common Kestrel
Photographer : © Trishant Simlai
Location :Bhimashankar Wildlife Sanctuary, Maharashtra, India
Date : 15 February 2007
English synonyms:Eurasian Kestrel, European Kestrel (tinnunculus), Kestrel, Old World Kestrel, Rock Kestrel, Eurasian Falcon
Bird Family :Falconidae - Falcons, Falconets & Kestrels
Bird Group :CICONIIFORMES
Red Data Status :Least Concern
Remarks :This was originally submitted as an immature female Merlin Falco columbarius. The females and immatures of the eastern races of that species can be rather similar to Kestrel. On more detailed analysis Russian raptor expert comments: "The Merlin Falco columbarius pallidus breeds in Russia and Kazakhstan where I am working. The females of Merlin have very variable plumages - from dark brown to pale. Unfortunately, I don't have good photos of Merlin because I research mainly Saker and Peregrine, and have made photos of Merlins by chance when I found their nests. Kestrels generally have red tones in the plumage, so brown birds are usually identified as females of the Merlin. In questionable cases the barring on the tail is recognized as the main identification feature. The tail bars of Merlin females, including the terminal bar, are identically wide and their number is fewer. The terminal tail bar of Kestrels is wider than others and their number is bigger. Krys originally sent me 2 photos, on one of which the tail was visible. I decided that the bars were of identical width. However, the impression was false, because the outer tail feather was shorter and covered the central tail feathers, and I thought that there were two identical dark bars. Also the next narrow bar was in shadow. After your letter I have brightened the photo in PhotoShop and the colouration of the tail has become well visible, including the terminal bar and narrow bar on the outer tail feather. So you are most likely right and it is Kestrel." - Ed.