Living the Scientific Life (Scientist, Interrupted)

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[Mystery bird] Common Kestrel, also known as the Eurasian Kestrel or just as the Kestrel, Falco tinnunculus, photographed in Serengeti National Park, Tanzania, Africa. [I will identify this bird for you in 48 hours]

Image: Dan Logen, 19 January 2010 [larger view].

Nikon D300, 600 mm VR lens, with 1.4 x extender ISO 400, f/6.3, 1/800 sec.

Please name at least one field mark that supports your identification.

Even though this bird is an African species that most of you have probably not seen in the wild, it is so similar to a North American species I think it is a safe bet that all of you can identify this bird to genus level at least.

Common Kestrels (also known as the Eurasian Kestrel in the USA, or as just the Kestrel in the UK, where it is the only resident kestrel species), Falco tinnunculus, has a tremendous range, being found throughout much of Europe and Asia and in parts of Africa.

Review all mystery birds to date.


  1. #1 Bob O'H
    May 30, 2010

    Pah! Easy. Any knave could get it.

  2. #2 Bardiac
    May 31, 2010

    It looks falconish in shape? Maybe Falco? (Now watch, someone’s going to come and explain why this has to be a buteo…)

  3. #3 Jana
    May 31, 2010

    Bardiac, you’re correct, it looks like a small falcon (genus Falco). It has that small, sharply curved beak, the malar stripe, the legs, and the look of a speedy bullet. It also looks way like an American Kestrel. It looks like there are quite a few African kestrels; I’m not totally sure which one it is, but it’s ridiculously pretty either way!

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