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Falco naumanni

Falco naumanni
Photo Information
Copyright: Emilio Giudice (emifoto) Silver Star Critiquer/Gold Note Writer [C: 20 W: 0 N: 78] (284)
Genre: Animals
Medium: Color
Date Taken: 2007-05-27
Categories: Birds
Camera: Pentax *ist DS, 500 mm f/8 diametro 77 mm
Exposure: f/8, 1/750 seconds
Photo Version: Original Version
Theme(s): Falcons - II chapter [view contributor(s)]
Date Submitted: 2007-09-23 1:06
Viewed: 14600
Points: 20
[Note Guidelines] Photographer's Note
In the Flat of Gela (Sicily) The Lesser Kestrel than 250 braces. For importance it is the scondo situated of reproduction in Italy. Normally it nests on old agricultural buildings. Also for this reason the Flat one of Gela is a IBA (Important Birds Area).

The Lesser Kestrel (Falco naumanni) is a small falcon. This species breeds from the Mediterranean across southern central Asia to China. It is a summer migrant, wintering in Africa and Pakistan. It is rare north of its breeding range, and declining in its European range. The scientific name of this bird commemorates the German naturalist Johann Andreas Naumann.
Female in flight. Note whitish talons (click to enlarge).
Female in flight. Note whitish talons (click to enlarge).

It is a small bird of prey, 27-33 cm in length with a 63-72 cm wingspan. It looks very much like the larger Common Kestrel but has proportionally shorter wings and tail. It shares a brown back and barred grey underparts with the larger species. The male has a grey head and tail like male Common Kestrels, but lacks the dark spotting on the back, the black malar stripe, and has grey patches in the wings.

The female and young birds are slightly paler than their relative, but are so similar that call and structure are better guides than plumage. The call is a diagnostic harsh chay-chay-chay, unlike the Common Kestrel's kee-kee-kee. Both sexes do not have dark talons as usual in falcons; those of this species are a peculiar whitish-horn color. This, however, is only conspicuous when seen birds at very close range, e.g. in captivity.

Despite its outward similarity, this species appears not to be closely related to the Common Kestrel. In fact, mtDNA cytochrome b sequence analysis (Groombridge et al. 2002) places it at a basal position with regards to the other "true" kestrels (i.e., excluding the American Kestrel and probably the grey African kestrels too). Its divergence is tentatively placed to around the Miocene-Pliocene boundary (Messinian to Zanclean, or about 7-3.5 mya). The morphological similarity with the Common Kestrel is most puzzling, but still it appears to betray the present species' actual relationships: the lack of a malar stripe seems ancestral for kestrels, and the grey wing color unites the Lesser Kestrel with most other Falco species, but not the other true kestrels.

The Lesser Kestrel is, as the name implies, a smaller and more delicate bird than the Common Kestrel, and it is entirely sympatric in its breeding range with it; they compete to a limited extent. Thus, the possibility that there is some form of adaptive advantage to the similar coloration deserves study. Considering that the Lesser Kestrel would in fact have an advantage if some would-be predators confuse it with the larger species and consequently avoid it, it might be a case of Müllerian mimicry.

The Lesser Kestrel eats insects, which are often taken on the ground. It nests colonially on buildings, cliffs, or in tree holes, laying up to 3-6 eggs. No nest structure is built, which is typical for falcons. Recent surveys (January 2007) by LPO have revealed that in their wintering grounds, Lesser Kestrels roost communally - sometimes in huge numbers. A roost discovered in Senegal during one of these surveys held 28,600 birds, together with 16,000 African Swallow-tailed Kites Chelictinia riocourii.[1]

It is widespread and plentiful on a global scale, but in many areas of its range, it seems to be undergoing a marked and possibly accelerating decline. The IUCN has thus classed it as a vulnerable species (VU A2bce+3bce). This means that the global population and range have declined by some 30% in the last 10 years, and is expected to continue to do so for at least another decade. Apart from possible habitat destruction, it appears that indiscriminate use of pesticides has a strong effect on this species due to its insectivorous habits (BirdLife International 2006).

fthsm, giacomosg, nardophoto, Heaven, marhowie, meyerd has marked this note useful
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To nardophoto: Grillaioemifoto 2 09-23 11:58
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Critiques [Translate]

  • Great 
  • fthsm Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 172 W: 56 N: 512] (3689)
  • [2007-09-23 2:19]

Nice capture. TFS

Hi Emilio,
A really great shot, perfect shapness, great colors, really very nicely captured.
TFS, Mike

bellissimo scatto. complimenti.

Good in flight image of this falcon.
The details, the light and so forth are well done.
TFS Emilio

Super image
tfs jon

  • Great 
  • PeterZ Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 5137 W: 166 N: 13121] (49139)
  • [2007-09-23 4:50]

Hello Emilio,
A fantastic photo of this Kestrel. Perfect sharpness, BG and pose. Beautiful natural colours. Good composition.

quel vecchio 500/8 ... se potesse parlare. Vedo che si difende ancora bene.
L'immagine è perfetta. L'hai ritagliata un po?

  • Great 
  • Heaven Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 996 W: 123 N: 2341] (7912)
  • [2007-09-23 11:16]

Hi Emilio!

How gracefull and at the same time powerful a bird can be! I'm impressed by the richness of the details and the wonderful color. I don't know anything about animal photography, but from my point of view I always regret that a lot of pictures of that kind just show blue skies as a background. But this is very personal...

Kind regards

Bellissima foto! Anche come composizione ottima, e così pure i dettagli!

Grazie e complimenti.

Ciao, Emanuele

Hello Emilio,
Excellent exposure, DOF, details, colors, and POV from underneath. I like it :)
Well composed, the bird looks great on this blue BG also.
Well done!

  • Great 
  • meyerd Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 585 W: 64 N: 2238] (7531)
  • [2007-09-25 12:34]

Dear Emilio,

this is a beautiful shot of a bird that you rarely see. You did a great job with the light. The posture of the bird is interesting, it seems to pepare for landing.

My best regards


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