The kestrel is one of our smallest and most common birds of prey. It can often be seen hovering above road verges, either beating its wings rapidly or using the wind for its support. The kestrel is only 32-35cm long, with a tail of 12-15cm and wingspan of 71-80cm. The kestrel is easy to recognise with its barred brown plumage, reddish back, pale under-parts, black cheek flashes and bar on the tail feathers. The male and female are almost alike, but the male has a blue-grey head, rump and tail, and the female has a brown barred head and tail. The main prey of kestrels are field voles, mice, shrews, moles, rats, frogs, and lizards. Kestrels do not build their own nests. They use old nests of other large birds such as crows and pigeons, or the eggs are laid in a hole in a tree, a crevice in a wall or cliff face, or on ledges on buildings. The eggs are laid in April at two or three day intervals. This means that the young are in different stages of development, increasing the chances of at least some of them surviving. A pair of birds will usually hatch from three to six young. The female incubates them for 10-14 days, whilst the male brings food. Kestrels were once hunted by gamekeepers. However, they are now one of the few birds of prey that gamekeepers and farmers tolerate as they eat the rats, moles, and insects that farmers see as pests.