📸 by @sacitbulut62

Lesser kestrel with an unfortunate grey rat.

Lesser kestrels (as the name implies) are the smaller and more delicate distant relatives of the common kestrel, they share very similar coloration with each other, which is a definite advantage for the lesser but beneficial for both.

Some experts believe this to be a case of müllerian mimicry – a natural phenomenon in which two or more species who share common predators will come to mimic each other to their mutual benefit.

The rough idea behind it is to make both species “unprofitable” by teaching their predators that “birds that look like this might be more trouble than their worth.”

In the case of the lesser kestrel and the common kestrel, who do get preyed upon by larger birds, the kestrels mimicry will more often than not prompt a would-be predator into selecting something else to eat.

This sympatric relationship between the lesser and common kestrel is still not fully understood, and müllerian mimicry between the two species is at best, a theory.

The word kestrel derives from the french word crécelle, which means noise-maker, rattle or ratchet.



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