American Kestrels, the Smallest Falcon in North America!
Size isn't everything! The American Kestrel may be the smallest falcon in North America, but what it lacks in size it makes up for in color and beauty! This falcon has a huge range, spanning all the way down to the coast of Chile near Antartica to the treeline in Alaska. You can find this bird hunting and feeding on rats, bugs and mice in open fields.
What Does the American Kestrel Look Like?
The appearance of this beautiful bird
The American Kestrel has some unique plumage. What looks like an Egyptian hieroglyphics can be found right in the United States! Complimenting brown colors on the belly and wings are contrasted with intense blues and black barring with spots on the chest. The females have streaking on the chest.
Typically, females are larger than males. They can vary in size from 9-12 inches and weighing from 2.8 ounces to 5.8 ounces. They have a 20-24 inch wingspan which makes the bird look much larger in flight.
This stop sign that the American Kestrel has landed on gives you a great idea of just how small these birds are.
Kestrel on a perch
American Kestrels Love Bugs!
These small hawks eat lots of bugs, making them an efficient "bug zapper" for the insect population!
A Falcon That Likes that Isn't So Tidy!
The American Kestrel is kind of a messy bird...
American Kestrels have odd behavior when making their nests...they take old abandoned nests in tree cavities! They're either good recyclers or they're lazy...who knows! When nesting, these falcons often spray the inside of the cavity with excrement instead of leaving the nest or spraying outside.
What a mess!
American Kestrel Postage Stamps
American Kestrel Videos
This video here features how researchers band American Kestrels to collect valuable data on these birds.
The American Kestrel: Falcon Of Many Names - A recommended book on American Kestrels
This book features an in depth look into this species, its behavior, mating habits, and is illustrated with some wonderful photos of this bird.
Breeding Habits of the American Kestrel
Breeding and eating habits
American Kestrels usually lay plenty of eggs, between 3 and 7. After approximately a month of incubation, the chicks will hatch. It will take these baby falcons a whole month to learn to fly.
Where can you see these beautiful birds?
American Kestrels can be found in open fields across North and South America. They prefer to eat crickets, grasshoppers, mice and other field critters Often times they can be found in cranberry bogs, open grasslands and farmlands. Bring your binoculars! Watch to see them hovering, or if they are sitting, watch for a bobbing tail movement. American Kestrels seem to be high-strung, so they are almost always in the air.
The American Kestrel is actually in decline! While some sites claim that they are stable, there has definitely been a decrease in numbers of the population. Take a moment to answer our quick poll question to report any kestrel sightings, even if you have not seen one recently (or ever).
An American Kestrel sits on top of a fresh kill, which you can't really see in the photo, but it's under his feet (a mouse).
Have you ever seen an American Kestrel? If so, when?
And he's off! He sees some prey in the distance and decides to go for it...
If you have seen an American Kestrel, where are you located?
A Kestrel cleans itself atop a perch.
If you have seen an American Kestrel, how many times have you seen one?
Spot Some Kestrels in your Neighborhood! - Recommended Bird Gear
Start seeing Kestrels and other wildlife in your neighborhood!
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Have you had an experience with the American Kestrel or just want to drop in? Leave your thoughts here!