There are a number of species of kestrel, a type of small falcon, around the world, and in France we have Falco tinnunculus, known in French as le faucon crécerelle. It ranges over Europe, Africa and Asia. This Old World species seems to be very closely related to the Nankeen Kestrel, the Australian species.
Its typical habitat is open lowland country, so this photo I took of one hovering over the marsh at Brouage in Charente-Maritime is exactly where you would expect to see one. This pose, hovering into the wind whilst scanning the ground for prey, is also typical. Once a tasty vole, shrew or mouse is spotted the bird will pounce. They are small mammal specialists, rarely eating anything else, and will consume about six of the little beasties a day.
They nest in trees or on buildings, and prefer to find a cavity to establish their nest, generally raising two or three chicks.
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