Kestrel is part of the Falconiformes order, the group of diurnal
birds of prey. Its name comes from the Latin “falco,” which refers
to the sickle shape of their talons or shape of their wings in
flight and “sparverius” which means “striped” referring to the
underside of their wings.
Roughly the size of
a Robin, they are the smallest falcon in North America with a length
of 20-29cm (8-11in), mass of 111-120g (3.9-4.2oz), and wingspan of
51-61cm (20-24in). Males are smaller than the females and the
coloration between the sexes varies. Males have blue-grey wings
while females are rufous wings. Both have a blue-grey head, rufous
tail and back, and “moustache” marks on the face.
live in many different habitats such as parks, suburbs, open fields,
forest openings, grasslands, marshes, plains, and deserts. They
need to have open space in order to hunt as well as perching areas
which they use to scan the area for potential prey.
Their diet consists
of large insects, such as grasshoppers and dragonflies, as well as
small rodents such as mice and voles. American Kestrels have also
been known to eat other small birds. They hunt in a multitude of
ways such as hovering until is sees its prey, then drop from the
sky. It will also hunt from perches, waiting until it sees its prey
from an elevated site. They will sometimes even harass other,
larger, birds such as hawks.
Kestrel hunts in a multitude of ways such as hovering until is sees
its prey, then drop from the sky. It will also hunt from perches,
waiting until it sees its prey from an elevated site. They can be
relatively aggressive and will sometimes even harass other, larger,
birds such as hawks.
form strong bonds and have been known to reestablish previous
bonds. They nest in cavities, such as hollow trees, rock cavities,
and man-made nest boxes. Both male and female take turns caring for
the eggs and chicks. Eggs incubate for around 30 days and the young
are able to maintain flight in 26 to 31 days.
Where to see
can be found in areas where they can find their prey, and since they
eat both insects and vertebrates these areas vary greatly.