American Kestrel

Falco sparverius

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  • American Kestrel |  Photo: Keenan Adams, USFWS
  • American Kestrel |  Photo: Keenan Adams, USFWS
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American Kestrel Photo Gallery

Basic Information

Order

Falconiformes

Family

Falconidae

Size

American Kestrels are generally between 8.65 and 12.25 inches in length.

Lifespan

up to 11 years

Weight

American Kestrel (Falco sparverius) facts, habitat, range, bird of prey pictures and bird watching tips to help you identify the

Diet

insects, Small Rodents

Behavior

Soaring

Range

Nationwide

Nest Placement

Cavity

Number of Offspring

4–5 Eggs

Egg Description

White-Yellowish or Reddish-Brown

Condition at Hatching

Feeble

Social Status

Family Groups

Wingspan

20–24.25 in

Observation Tips

Take a hike along your favorite trail running through open forests or shrublands. Listen for their trill "killy-killy-killy" call.

What does the American Kestrel look like?

American Kestrels are small slender birds of prey. They have a blue gray, black and white facial pattern on their round heads with bright yellow eyes. They have rusty orange backs with black spots, blue gray wings with black tips, and a black tipped tail.

American Kestrel Habitat

Open Forests

American Kestrel Facts

American Kestrels are small showy birds of prey. They may be small, but they are fierce and are easily capable of killing prey much larger than themselves. They are often observed perched on wires or in trees. When hunting they tend to hover in place facing the wind. Because of their small stature, they often fall victims to other larger birds of prey such as Red-tailed, Sharp-shinned and Cooper's Hawks. Their nests are dirty places. They spray feces on the walls and leave uneaten prey on the floor. They also hide excess kills in various locations to save for rainy days. Male and female Kestrels tend to hunt in different habitats. Females seem to prefer open areas, while males tend to linger in the trees. Kestrels can also see ultraviolet light. This enables them to see prey urine, which is kind of like a map to dinner.

See also