Kestrels are famed for their charismatic hunting behaviour of hovering above the ground before dropping onto prey. Dickinson’s kestrel, however, rarely hovers and prefers to hunt from an exposed perch, such as a dead tree, scanning for prey on the ground beneath (2). Most active at dusk and dawn, Dickinson’s kestrel targets a variety of prey species including small mammals, lizards, amphibians and insects, and there is some evidence of individuals specialising on hunting fruit bats (4). Bush and cane fires can attract foraging Dickinson’s kestrels, as exposed escaping animals provide an easy source of food (2).
The timing of the breeding season differs between localities. Breeding in the southern extremities of the species range occurs in early summer, with eggs laid between September and November (5). The female incubates a clutch of two to four eggs for a period of approximately 30 days in a nest constructed in a cavity of a large tree, such as a baobab, or in an old Hammerkop (Scopus umbretta) nest (2) (5). Offspring fledge after 33 to 35 days (4).