kestrel


noun

  1. a common small falcon, Falco tinnunculus, of northern parts of the Eastern Hemisphere, notable for hovering in the air with its head to the wind.
  2. any of several related small falcons, as the American kestrel, F. sparverius.

noun

  1. any of several small falcons, esp the European Falco tinnunculus, that tend to hover against the wind and feed on small mammals on the ground
n.

kind of falcon, c.1600, earlier castrell (15c.), probably from Middle French cresserelle, which apparently is related to crecerelle “rattle,” from Latin crepitacillium “small rattle,” diminutive of crepitaculum “noisy bell, rattle,” from crepitare “to crackle, rattle;” possibly from the old belief that their noise frightened away other hawks.

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