American Kestrel

Falco sparverius

American Kestrel
Photo courtesy of Tom Grey

FALCONS: Fast-flying birds of prey, strong hunters. Distinguished from hawks by their very long, pointed wings. Females are larger than the males. Birds of the genus Falco have notched bills that dare use to kill prey by severing the spinal column.

Description:
Smallest, most common of the falcons. Russet back and tail, double black stripes on the white face. From below, pale underneath with a distinctive row of circular spots on the trailing edge of the wings. Blue-gray wings. Length 10 ½”, Wingspan 23”
Voice:
Shrill killy-killy-killy; a staccato klee-klee-klee during disturbance at the nest.
Food:
Insects, reptiles, small mammals (such as voles and mice), small birds. Hovers over prey before plunging to capture it.
Nest:
Uses a natural cavity, woodpecker hole, cliff nook or nest box. No nesting material used. Eggs 3-7, pinkish with dark marks.
Habitat:
Open country—a wide variety of open habitats, including urban areas.
Range:
Throughout the U.S. year round.
Migration:
Comments:
Often perches on telephone poles, frequently bobbing its tail.