Species: Falco sparverius
HABITAT AND RANGE:
The American Kestrel is found around
farmlands and open country as well as
towns, cities and parks. It breeds from
Alaska and Northwest Territories east
through Maritime Provinces and south
throughout North America. They spend
their winters north to British Columbia,
the Great Lakes region and New England
The Kestrel is approximately 9-12 inches
tall, with a wingspan of about 18
inches. It is a jay-sized falcon, often
seen hovering over open fields. It is
recognized by its rusty tail and back.
Adult males have slate blue wings,
whereas the female has rusty wings and
back and narrow bands on the tail. Both
sexes have 2 black stripes on their
faces. Immature Kestrels also exhibit
two black “imitation eyes” on the back
of their head.
Unlike larger falcons, the Kestrel has
adapted to humans and nests even in
large cities. The female does most of
the incubating and is fed by the male.
The male calls as he nears the nest and
the female goes to him, receives the
food and returns to the nest. Their
voice is a distinct shrill,
In urban areas, Kestrels feed heavily on
small birds, such as the house sparrow.
Hence the nickname “Sparrow Hawk”.
However, in the open countryside, their
diet is very diverse, feeding on
insects, small birds and rodents.
REPRODUCTION AND DEVELOPMENT:
After breeding, 4-5 brown spotted, white
eggs are laid in a tree cavity or
man-made birdhouse. No nest is built to
line the den area. After the eggs hatch,
the male continues to supply the food to
feed the young. The young stay with the
adults for a time after fledgling and it
is not uncommon to see family groups in
STATUS IN WILD:
Due to their ability to adapt to human
activities, the Kestrel is abundant in
the United States. Kestrels are easy to
spot along the roadside, perching on
telephone wires around open fields.