from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

  • n. Chiefly British A kestrel.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • n. The common kestrel.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • n. The kestrel; -- called also windbibber, windcuffer, windfanner.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • n. A kind of hawk, the kestrel, Falco tinunculus or Tinnunculus alaudarius: so called from its hovering in the face of the wind. See kestrel. Also called windbibber, windcuffer, windfanner, windhawk, windsucker, vanner-hawk, staniel, etc.


wind +‎ hover, due to this bird’s habit of beating the wind (hovering), compare earlier windfucker. First recorded 1674. (Wiktionary)


  • This beautiful picture of a flying kestrel, or windhover, is courtesy of the folks at Stanford University: www. jpg

    Archive 2005-09-01

  • The novelist Nicholas Royle would be heartbroken if the "windhover" were to vanish.

    Where have all the kestrels gone?

  • But from April onwards, as the air temperature rises, these beautiful falcons rise up again, amply justifying their wonderful folk-name, the windhover, made famous by the poet Gerard Manley Hopkins.

    Birdwatch: Kestrel

  • Yes, it is, and from this habit it has got the name of windhover; the outspread tail is suspended and the head always points in the direction of the wind.

    Country Walks of a Naturalist with His Children

  • If it were really an enemy to the dovecot, we should see the pigeons in commotion as soon as it begins its evening flight; but the pigeons heed it not: whereas if the sparrow-hawk or windhover should make their appearance, the whole community would be up at once, proof sufficient that the barn owl is not looked upon as a bad, or even a suspicious, character by the inhabitants of the dovecot.

    The Mirror of Literature, Amusement, and Instruction Volume 19, No. 530, January 21, 1832

  • The kestrel, or windhover, has a peculiar mode of hanging in the air in one place, his wings all the while being briskly agitated.

    MacMillan's Reading Books Book V

  • The kestrel is the bird known in England as the windhover, on account of its habit of hovering in mid-air on rapidly-vibrating wings before pouncing on the lizard or other small fry, for which it is ever on the watch.

    Birds of the Indian Hills

  • Moors an 'moors an' moors, wi 'never a tree for shelter, an' gray houses wi 'flagstone rooves, and pewits cryin', an 'a windhover goin' to and fro just like these kites.

    Life's Handicap

  • Moors an 'moors an' moors, wi 'never a tree for shelter, an' grey houses wi 'flagstone rooves, and pewits cryin', an 'a windhover goin' to and fro just like these kites.

    Indian Tales

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