The bird was spotted and photographed by project leader, Thomas Rabeil, and his team on February 16, 2010, during regular wildlife monitoring work. Unlike anything they had seen before, photos of the bird were sent to several world renowned bird experts, including Ron Demey and Nik Borrow, authors of the definitive Field Guide to the Birds of West Africa, Tim Wacher (Birds of the Gambia and Senegal), and Joost Brouwer and Ulf Liedén of the online Niger Bird Database. Greater Kestrel was their unanimous response.
We always knew Termit was a treasure house of Sahelo-Saharan biodiversity and an important overwintering and stopping off point for migrant birds from the palaearctic region but this amazing find goes to further underline its importance for biodiversity on an even larger scale.
The Greater Kestrel, also known as the White-eyed Kestrel, is a small to medium sized falcon with a known range limited to the semi-aridlands of East and Southern Africa. The nearest known populations are in eastern Ethiopia. One can only speculate why and how it turned up several thousand kilometres from its known range. Birds of prey are known to migrate over vast distances and can be drawn into unfamiliar territory by storms or swarming locusts.