Bird Watching (UK) - - March Id Challenge -

A bird with its head tucked in, as if think­ing of sleep­ing or per­haps preen­ing. So, the shape of the bill will be no help here. There are, how­ever, plenty of clues to this bird’s iden­tity. The rel­a­tively large head and long wings im­me­di­ately sug­gest this may be a fal­con or small hawk. The se­cond thing to note is the over­all colour, which has a warm, al­most or­ange tone, lib­er­ally and evenly barred with dark. This colour im­me­di­ately rules out birds like Spar­rowhawk (which in­ci­den­tally has a pale iris, not dark as here) and Mer­lin, which are a much darker, colder brown. Hob­bies and Pere­grines are never red-brown like this. This is a Kestrel. The new feath­ers at the base of the left wing look like adult male feath­ers. So this ap­pears to be a ju­ve­nile male.

KEY FEA­TURES †Banded feath­ers dark brown on a warm buff, al­most or­ange ‘base’ †Long pri­maries reach a long way but not to tip of long tail †Long tail banded like back and wing feath­ers, with brown dark tip †Fresh adult feath­ers sug­gest this may be a male

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