montage of foxes, a thistle and a kestrel
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Adult males have a slate grey back and white underparts, closely barred with orange. Their grey tail has 4-5 dark bars. Females are larger, with brown upperparts, a white stripe over the eye and dark barring underneath. They look heavier than the males. Their broad, rounded wings and long tail are adapted for flying between trunks and branches enabling them to weave in and out of trees at high speed. They never hover like kestrels.

Where to see them
In the UK it is found everywhere, except for parts of the Scottish Highlands, the Western Isles and Shetland. It is found in woodlands, along hedgerows and in parks and gardens. In winter may be seen in more open areas such as salt marshes adjacent to woodland. Usually seen flying fast and low in pursuit of prey, or soaring high on rounded wings.

When to see them
All year round.

What they eat
Mainly small birds, but 120 different species have been recorded.

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