kestrel

[kes-truhl]
noun
1.
a common small falcon, Falco tinnunculus, of northern parts of the Eastern Hemisphere, notable for hovering in the air with its head to the wind.
2.
any of several related small falcons, as the American kestrel, F. sparverius.

Origin:
1400–50; late Middle English castrell < Middle French quercerelle, metathetic variant of crecerelle, of disputed orig.

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World English Dictionary
kestrel (ˈkɛstrəl)
 
n
any of several small falcons, esp the European Falco tinnunculus, that tend to hover against the wind and feed on small mammals on the ground
 
[C15: changed from Old French cresserele, from cressele rattle, from Vulgar Latin crepicella (unattested), from Latin crepitāre to crackle, from crepāre to rustle]

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Etymonline
Word Origin & History

kestrel
15c., from M.Fr. cresserelle, from L. crepitacillium "small rattle," dim. of crepitaculum "noisy bell, rattle," from crepitare "to crackle, rattle;" possibly from the old belief that their noise frightened away other hawks.
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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