Global distribution

Lesser Kestrel is a migratory species: it overwinters mainly in sub-Saharan Africa. In Africa it tends to live in colonies and many birds roost together in individual trees or elsewhere. Recently a large roost was discovered in Senegal, which gathered an impressive number of 28,600 birds. Few individuals overwinter in southern Spain, southern Turkey, Malta and North Africa.

From spring to mid-October, the Lesser Kestrels select areas with temperate climate and conditions suitable for reproduction. More specifically, the breeding countries, except Greece, are Portugal, Spain (gathering 50 % of the total population), Gibraltar, France, Italy, Albania, Bosnia - Herzegovina, FYROM, Turkey, Morocco, Algeria, Tunisia, Libya, Israel and Palestine, Jordan, Iran, Iraq, Armenia, Azerbaijan, Georgia, Russia, Ukraine, Afghanistan, Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan, Kazakhstan, China and Mongolia.


GlobalDistribution gr web


Breeding Migration Wintering
Azerbaijan Montenegro Azerbaijan Malta
Albania Ukraine Bulgaria Spain
Armenia Portugal France Turkey
Bosnia-Herzegovina Romania Georgia Italy
Bulgaria Ευρωπαϊκή Ρωσία Gibraltar  
France Serbia Greece  
Georgia Turkey Spain  
Gibraltar FYROM Italy  
Greece   Croatia  
Spain   Cyprus  
Italy   Slovenia  
Croatia   Turkey  
Cyprus   Ukraine  

The Lesser Kestrel in European countries (countries with bold assemble the largest populations) (Iñigo, A., B. Barov (2010). Action plan for the lesser kestrel Falco naumanni in the European Union, 55 p. SEO|BirdLife and BirdLife International for the European Commission.)


Distribution of the species in Greece

From the 19th century until the late '60s the Lesser Kestrel was a common bird with large populations in the Greek territory.

However, it has since declined significantly throughout Greece. Nowadays, the main breeding sites are located in Thessaly plain and in some parts of SW Macedonia, while some single colonies are distributed throughout the rest of the mainland (central and NW Peloponnese, Komotini).

Greece hosts today 140 colonies (2.600-3.300 pairs) that have negative trend in respect to the past. Of these, 75 % of all encountered in Thessaly plain (2.100-2.500 pairs in 107 colonies). Outside Thessaly, colonies are relatively isolated and smaller and are in counties: Aetoloakarnania, Ilia, Fthiotida, Pella, Kilkis, Kozani, Florina, Serres and Rhodope, in the cities Ioannina, Galaxidi, Tripoli and on the islands of Limnos and Lesvos.

During the non breeding season the Lesser Kestrel occurs in almost the whole mainland of Greece and on several islands.


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The Project is implemented by the University of Thessaly, in collaboration with the Municipality of Rigas Ferraios, the Management Body of the Eco-development Area of Lake Karla-Mavrovouniou-Kefalovrysou-Velestinou, the Hellenic Ornithological Society and the NCC Ltd, with the financial support of the European Commission

Coordinating beneficiary

Associated beneficiaries

Πανεπιστήμιο Θεσσαλίας - Εργαστήριο Διαχείρισης Οικοσυστημάτων και Βιοποικιλότητας Δήμος Ρήγα ΦεραίουΦορέας Διαχείρισης Περιοχής Οικοανάπτυξης Κάρλας - Μαυροβουνίου - Κεφαλοβρύσου - ΒελεστίνουΕλληνική Ορνιθολογική ΕταιρείαNature Conservation Consultants