The greater kestrel may be seen above grasslands, using its long broad wings to fly silently with slow, shallow wing beats, interspersed with short glides (5). Hunting from a perch, or whilst hovering above the ground, the greater kestrel uses its acute eyesight to spot prey scurrying amongst the vegetation beneath. Insects are the main prey, but lizards, amphibians and small mammals, will also be taken, while small birds are occasionally caught on the wing after aerial pursuits (2). Bush fires often attract foraging greater kestrels, as exposed escaping animals provide an easy source of food. During times of plentiful food, quarry will be cached under a rock and retrieved at a later time (5).
Male greater kestrels use dramatic aerial displays, involving hovering, dives and roles, all the while showing off the silvery-white feathers under the wing, to attract a mate (5) (7). The timing of this varies between localities, but the breeding season generally peaks between September and October (5). In common with other Falco species, the nest of another bird, such as a black or pied crow (Corvus capensis or C. alba) or secretary bird (Sagittarius serpentarius) is reused and three to four eggs are laid, and incubated for 32 to 33 days (2) (4). The chicks will fledge after 30 to 34 days in the nest, and may remain with the female for a further 30 days (2).