The Lesser Kestrel

The bird of prey symbol of Matera

The falco naumanni, scientific name of lesser kestrel is a protected species living in the plateau of Murgia. The largest flocks leaves in this place where there are large pastures and the territory has remained unchanged along the centuries. Usually there are 700 breeding pairs, but during the pre-reproductive period there are about 3.000 samples. The lesser kestrel nest on the roofs of the curious citizen of Matera.

But please, don’t be scared! This adorable little falcon is very discreet and you don’t even notice it is there. The beak and the claws are not very strong so it prefers feed itself with locusts, crickets, beetles, various kinds of insects and sometimes with lizards.

This beautiful bird of prey travels from Africa to Italy in April to go back at the end of summer. It lays from 3 to 5 eggs in large tree trunks, and the eggs hatch after about 30 days of hatching. The Iittle hawks learn to fly only 4 weeks after the date of birth. During the initial weeks of September the lesser kestrel colonies migrate towards Africa.

The Materani have adopted this animal, and in the last few years the construction of particular nest boxes has increased to replace the nesting sites lost because of the restoration of ancient houses. On the roof of this room you can see a nest box populated by these birds.

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Tips

There is a place in Matera where you can admire many beautiful exemplars of lesser kestrel: is an Umbrella Pine, near the center, used as base by the birds that are totally indifferent to the city traffic. The days before the reproductive period, at the sunset, you can see hundreds of falcons fly around this pine.           
                                                                                      

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