KESTREL. (Falco Tinunculus, Linn.) When falconry was in use in Great Britain, this species was trained for catching small birds and young partridges. It is easily distinguished from all other hawks by its colours. The crown of the head and the greater part of the tail are of a fine light gray ; the back and coverts of the wing of a purplish red, elegantly spotted with black: the whole under side of the bird of a pale russet colour spotted with black. The male and female differ very much from each other, the female being more variegated, and richer in colour than the male, which weighs six ounces only, and the female eleven. The kestrel breeds in the hollows of trees, in the holes of high rocks, towers, and ruined buildings : it lays four or five eggs of a pale reddish colour: it feeds on small birds, field-mice, and insects. This is the hawk that we so often see in the air, fixed in one place; and, as it were, fanning it with its wings; at which time it is watching for its prey, on which it pounces with extraordinary rapidity. Bewick says, the kestrel is widely diffused throughout Europe, and is found in the more temperate parts of North America: it is a handsome bird; its sight is acute, and its flight easy and graceful.
Harewood, Harry. A Dictionary of Sports. London: T. Tegg and son, 1835
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