Widespread across open lands and cities of Europe, Africa, and Asia, the common kestrel (Falco tinnunculus) is one of the most abundant and studied birds of prey. The Kestrel brings together and synthesises the results of research on kestrels for professional ornithologists and scientists that seek to consolidate a vast body of literature. It is also a reference for those readers who may not have the depth of scientific knowledge to navigate new fields of scientific enquiry. It examines many aspects of the species' biology, from the reproductive strategies to the behavioural and demographic adaptations to changes of environmental conditions. It also discusses the roles of physiology and immunology in mediating the adaptability of kestrels to the ongoing environmental changes with a particular focus on contaminants. The Kestrel presents new and exciting avenues of research on the ecology and behaviour of the common kestrel.
1. Systematics and evolution of kestrels
2. Feeding ecology
3. Habitat use
4. Breeding density and nest site selection
5. Colourations, sexual selection and mating behavior
6. The reproductive cycle: from egg laying to offspring care
7. Ecological physiology and immunology
8. Environmental toxicology
9. Movement ecology
10. Conservation status and population dynamics
David Costantini is Professor of Conservation Physiology at the Muséum National d'Histoire Naturelle in Paris, France. He is an Humboldtian and secretary of the association Ornis Italica. His main research interests have focussed on the physiological mechanisms mediating life-history variation and functions in animal ecology and conservation.
Giacomo Dell'Omo is President of Ornis Italica, a non-profit Italian association for research and education on environmental issues. His main research interests have focussed on the behaviour, ecology, and ecotoxicology of birds. He is currently involved in projects relating to many species including kestrels as favourite.
"[...] The monograph is written in a scientific style that resembles the tone of a doctoral thesis, including useful summaries and conclusions at the beginning and end of each chapter as well as short introductions to the subject matter. Each chapter is a synthetic update, not only on the Kestrel, but on ornithology and evolutionary ecology. Although some original results are presented, they are analysed and integrated into the list of results of the cited studies. This quality, along with its visual sobriety, make the book seem like a very serious text. However, the truth is that I found it quite readable and easy to follow. [...] In the same way, little licence is given to personal views, anecdotes and unpublished observations on work with Kestrels or on the studied populations, those populations around Rome and Parma that have contributed so significantly to the recent knowledge of the Common Kestrel. Those views and experiences from experts that do not fit neatly into scientific articles would also be of interest to non-expert and expert readers. In conclusion, this is a wonderful book that, while primarily aimed at scientists, can prove enjoyable to amateurs as well."
– Juan A. Fargallo, Ibis