Raptors: Common Kestrel

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Raptors: Common Kestrel. Doha, Qatar.I notice symptoms of winter months in Qatar – Where the dawn is lazier, and the dusk is quicker. The sun begins to disappear as early in the evening as 5 pm- 5:30 pm, which cuts down day light by a couple of hours. It will be exciting months for birding when the passage migrants flock in the Middle East. Apart from shores and gardens, there are private farms in Qatar that can be visited with prior permission. I had an opportunity to visit one such, some time back. Irkaya Farm is a private farm in Qatar which is a birding hotspot for birdwatchers who live here. It is a lush green farm in the middle of the desert, having numerous winter visitors and also residents. Apparently, around 200-300 species are said to be sighted here. I am thinking of more visits this winter!

Here is a note of a Common Kestrel sighted some time back. The Common Kestrel belongs to the kestrel group of the falcon family. It is widespread in Asia, Europe and Africa. The kestrel has chestnut brown and blackish spots with males having fewer black spots. This bird grows up to 39cm.  The eyes are black with a striking yellow ring around the eyes.

Kestrels do not require a woodland. Instead they are found in places where there is abundant prey. This could be grasslands, wetland and they also adapt well close by to human settlements. They are widespread and there is no threat to their population at the moment.

  • Species name: Common Kestrel, Falco tinnunculus
  • Place of shoot – Doha, Qatar