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Lesser Kestrel

Falco naumanni (Fleischer, 1818)

Степная пустельга | Дала күйкентайы
male

2010-09-06
Karazhal, Ayaguz region, Eastern Kazakhstan oblast
© Askar Isabekov

Distribution

Breeds everywhere in Kazakhstan except the sandy deserts and highlands. At recent years two small colonies recorded in steppe valley on Narym river. On migration occurs everywhere, in Western Tien Shan above 3000 m.

Biology

Common breeding migrant. Inhabits the steppes and deserts with the rocky outcrops or clay-stone precipices; the low mountains with rocky gorges and foothills of main ridges. Prefers the areas of grass plains or hills with numerous locusts and other insects. In spring appears in March, but mostly in April. Migrates in loose flocks or small groups. The latest birds at Chokpak Pass were observed in mid-May. Breeds in colonies of one-two dozen birds but separate pairs are not rare too. Nest is built in the rock or clay cavity, between the stones; or in the cavity under the bridges; in old houses, sheep-folds or grave constructions. No special materials are used for nest construction. Rarely uses the old nests of Dove. Laying 2-7 (usually 4-5) eggs is in end April – May or in early June (probably the late nesting of first-breeders). Females incubate mainly, but males relay them for short time (male has brood patches too) and bring the food. Incubation lasts for 24-28 days. In one colony the nests with fresh eggs and the different age juveniles could be found in the same time. Both parents feed juveniles which hatch in the end of May – June and fledge at the age 35-40 days, in July – August. Repeated breeding after loss of first clutches is possible. Post-breeding dispersal begins from the end of June, when the flocks of Lesser Kestrel migrate to northern areas with plenty food (observed in Central Kazakhstan). The autumn migration to south begins in August. At Chokpak Pass first birds appear in the end August – early September, the main migration traffic is in September, about 60 birds perched on stationary traps were observed in August 25 2003. On migration Lesser Kestrels congregate in the loose flocks in foraging, but passage in dense flocks of some dozen birds (observed at Kshi Kaindy Pass, Talasskiy Alatau, 3000 m). On roosting the one-two thousand Lesser Kestrels can be observed in convenient places. Latest migrating birds registered in mid-October.

References

Gavrilov E. I., Gavrilov A. E. "The Birds of Kazakhstan". Almaty, 2005. Э.И.Гаврилов. "Фауна и распространение птиц Казахстана". Алматы, 1999. В.К.Рябицев. "Птицы Урала, Приуралья и Западной Сибири". Екатеринбург. Изд-во Уральского университета, 2000.

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