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Rock kestrel

Rock kestrel
Photo Information
Copyright: Annick Vanderschelden (vanderschelden) Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 2553 W: 74 N: 7464] (30441)
Genre: Animals
Medium: Color
Date Taken: 2008-12-08
Categories: Birds
Camera: Canon EOS 1D Mark III, Canon 400mm 2.8 IS
Exposure: f/5.6, 1/1000 seconds
Photo Version: Original Version
Travelogue: Namibia, a photographer's dream
Theme(s): Falcons - III chapter, Birds of Namibia [view contributor(s)]
Date Submitted: 2009-01-08 15:06
Viewed: 5151
Points: 32
[Note Guidelines] Photographer's Note
Rock kestrel...and it should be tinnunculus and not tinunculus..2xn
...well I'm not quite sure about the ID either actually.
It's definitely a kestrel though.

The name kestrel is given to several different members of the falcon genus, Falco. Kestrels are most easily distinguished by their typical hunting behaviour which is to hover at a height of around 10–20 m over open country and swoop down on prey, usually small mammals, lizards or large insects. Other falcons are more adapted to active hunting on the wing. In addition, kestrels are notable for usually having much brown in their plumage.

Kestrels require a slight headwind in order to hover, hence a local name of windhover for Common Kestrel.

I think it's a Common kestrel subspecies:

Common kestrel description
Their plumage is mainly light chestnut brown with blackish spots on the upperside and buff with narrow blackish streaks on the underside; the remiges are also blackish. Unlike most hawks, they display sexual colour dimorphism with the male having less black spots and streaks, as well as a blue-grey cap and tail. The tail is brown with black bars in females, and has a black tip with a narrow white rim in both sexes. All Common Kestrels have a prominent black malar stripe like their closest relatives.

I think it's a Rock kestrel, a subspecies of the Common kestrel. An argument is the open habitat and there was also some kind of gorge a bit further away. Finally there's of course the rock perch
We're about 3 km away from the Tropic of Capricorn and the Gaub pass northwards. The Gaub river is not on the tasa map Namibia 2008/09, you'll find it on T4A Nambia/Angola map. Described as a dangerous area road-wise. I think this is Erongo province and not Khomas, difficult to tell. Anyway it could be the habitat of the Rock kestrel.

Falco (tinnunculus) rupicolus Daudin, 1800 – Rock Kestrel
NW Angola and S Zaire to S Tanzania, and south to South Africa. Probably a distinct species, but its limits with rufescens require further study. It differs markedly from the other subspecies of the F. tinnunculus complex. In particular, the females have what in other subspecies are typically male characteristics such as a grey head and tail, and spotted rather than barred upperparts. The Rock Kestrel has less heavily marked, brighter chestnut upperparts and its underparts are also a bright chestnut that contrasts with the nearly unmarked white underwings. Females tend to have more black bands in the central tail feathers than males. The open mountain habitat is also atypical for Common Kestrel.

Presumably a male as I compared to a wiki with a 'presumably a male' photo and the photo of a female wasn't exactly matching at first sight.

altitude 852 m
S23 30.749 E15 46.656

ferranjlloret, CeltickRanger, marhowie, haraprasan, John_F_Kennedy, Dis. Ac., uleko, angela926, bobair, nardophoto has marked this note useful
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Critiques [Translate]

Hi Annick,
Excellent composition of this picture, beautiful Falco rupicolus, very elegant. Good POV an details.TFS Ferran.

hello Annick

superb photography of this Kestrel shot with very fine POV
and framing, i love that the bird is small on the image
and we see a part of his environement, excellemt warm
luminosity and colour tones, excellent sharpness and details,
i love that severe i eye-contact of the bird of prey with you, TFS


  • Great 
  • nagraj Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 1618 W: 106 N: 3208] (15166)
  • [2009-01-08 16:44]

Hi Annick,
Very good use of the rock for this kestrel, fine composition. I am happy that you have not shown too close like we see here most of the times and including the habitat too. Looks like you got him very close for your lens. The brightness looks bit dull to me. tfs.

Hi Annick,
Great comp and how convenient - A Rock Kestrel on a rock!
Technically well done..I see he has given you a nod.
I will do the same :)

Hi Annick,
A nice capture of this beautiful Rock kestrel. Very good composition with sharp details. Thanks a lot for sharing.

No elephant, but a very nice bird I had not seen in Namibia. I like the blur background - this is perfect.
Best wishes,

Ciao Annick,
bellissime presentazione e composizione per questo gheppio catturato in una splendida postura sopra la roccia che crea una bella prospettiva diagonale, ottima nitidezza, magn ifiche tonalità di colore e stupendo OOF BG.

Hallo Annick,

Lijkt wat compositie op mijn Merel foto.
Mooie compositie en uitmuntende dof met prachtige kleuren.


  • Great 
  • uleko Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 3396 W: 172 N: 3310] (10940)
  • [2009-01-09 7:36]

Hello Annick,
Great capture of this beautiful bird of prey in a fine composition. I love the way it is checking that you're not coming too close!!
Lovely colours too.
TFS and regards, Ulla

A bit too far IMHO but quite good compo and DOF

  • Great 
  • PeterZ Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 5137 W: 166 N: 13121] (49139)
  • [2009-01-09 12:02]

Hallo Annick,
Wat een aparte compositie met meer rock dan kestrel. Erg goed. ik zou de foto veel verder hebben uitgesneden, maar het blijkt, dat hoeft dus niet. Prachtige tekening zowel in de rots als in de valk tegen een schitterend vage achtergrond. Wat betreft de soort zou je wel eens volledig gelijk kunnen hebben. Ik heb nog nooit een foto van deze ondersoort gezien.(wel tekeningen). Heel bijzonder.
Geniet van het weekend...(lekker schaatsen)

hallo Annick

super schot
zo mooi met de rots ,en scherpe details
groetjes lou

  • Great 
  • joey Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 1739 W: 224 N: 6872] (24909)
  • [2009-01-09 12:53]

Hi Annick,
a really good shot.
The composition is excellent.
Great clarity and detail.
Superb DOF.

Well done,

Hello Annick,
Nice4 capture, excellent composition an dpov showing
natural environment, beautiful colors and light, good
sharpess of the subject and very nice shallow depth of
field, well done.

Hi Annick,
well one thing is for sure and that is the title fits so very well well for this capture as it really does show the kestrel on a rock!Given the distance from the bird every has a good detail and colour working well and your crop is par-excellence!I only wish that the actual rock was little sharper but I must thank you for sharing this wonderful bird of prey with us all. Bob

Hello Annick,
Very picturesque.:)
Excellent composition of the Rock Kestrel posing for you on the rock- a very interesting rock too.Very good POV, good pose captured and beautiful colours.

Ciao annick,
sono sempre affascinato dei tuoi scatti. Congratulazioni per la tua galleria su TN.
Grande rappresentazione ed ambientazione per questo Falco tinnunculus rupiculus.

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