Kestrel definition

kĕstrəl
Frequency:
A small falcon (Falco sparverius) found throughout the Americas, having vertical black stripes under the eyes and characteristically hovering over fields to hunt.
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A small falcon (Falco tinnunculus) of Europe, Asia, and Africa that hovers when hunting and has reddish-brown plumage and a gray head.
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Any of various similar falcons of the genus Falco that hover when hunting.
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Either of two small, reddish-gray European falcons (Falco tinnunculus or F. naumanni) that can hover in the air.
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Any of various small falcons of the genus Falco that hover while hunting.
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The common kestrel, Falco tinnunculus.
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Other Word Forms

Noun

Singular:
kestrel
Plural:
kestrels

Origin of kestrel

  • Probably from obsolete French cresserelle from Old French cresserele probably from cresselle clacker, kestrel

    From American Heritage Dictionary of the English Language, 5th Edition

  • From Middle English castrel (“staniel, bird of prey”), from Middle French cresserelle, crecerelle (“bird of prey”), derivative of crecelle (“rattle, wooden reel”), of obscure origin.

    From Wiktionary