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.
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.