The Lesser Kestrel Conservation Program
Photograph: Sason Tiram
Photograph: Adi Phillipsborn
Photograph: Yaara Forest Tamari
The Lesser Kestrel (Falco naumanni) is a small bird of prey found in Southern Europe, Northern Africa, the Middle-East and Central Asia. It winters in Africa, mainly in Sub-Saharan regions. In Israel and around the world, populations have been declining due to diminishing nesting sites, habitat destruction and use of pesticides. The species has adapted to urban environments by nesting in old buildings and hunting in city parks. However, with the expansion of the city and the growing distance to hunting areas, they have also begun to disappear from urban neighborhoods.
The Biblical Zoo has conducted studies on the breeding biology of Lesser Kestrels and has incubated eggs in its National Center for Raptor Egg Incubation. The Zoo’s veterinary hospital also treats and rehabilitates injured birds. Breeding pairs are housed in a special exhibit designed to look like a typical house façade in the Morasha neighborhood, previously a major nesting area for Lesser Kestrels in Jerusalem.