New Hampshire PBS
   share this page
NATUREWORKS!
Home     About     Watch     Nature Files     Teachers     Order DVD     Contact

American Kestrel - Falco sparverius

American Kestel
Characteristics
Range
Habitat
Diet
Life Cycle
Behavior
 Classification

 Phylum: Chordata
 Class: Aves
 Order: Falconiformes
 Family: Falconidae
 Genus: Falco


American Kestrel


ICUN Redlist - World Status: Least ConcernLeast Concern
    Audio Credit: xeno-canto.org Israel Aragon cc logo
  Characteristics
American Kestrel The American kestrel is the smallest North American falcon. It is 9-12 inches in length with a wingspan of 21 inches. It has a rusty tail and back and two vertical black stripes in its face. It has a short, hooked bill; white cheeks; a long tail and long, pointed wings. The male has slate-gray wings and a spotted breast and belly. The female has rusty wings and streaks on her breast. The American kestrel is also known as the sparrow hawk.

  Range

mapThe American kestrel can be found throughout North and South America from near the tree-line in Alaska and Canada and south to Tierra del Fuego.

 

 

 

  Habitat
American KestrelThe American kestrel can be found in in almost any habitat that has open areas for hunting and tall places for it to perch. The American kestrel is the only North American falcon or hawk that nests in cavities. It makes its nest in tree cavities, under eaves, in woodpecker holes and in nesting boxes.



  
  Diet
American KestrelThe American kestrel eats grasshoppers, crickets, grasshoppers, beetles, dragonflies, butterflies, small mammals, sparrows and other small birds, reptiles and amphibians. It perches on trees and telephone poles looking for prey. It often hovers over its prey and then drops down on it. Unlike other falcons, the American kestrel often catches its prey on the ground.
  Life Cycle

American KestrelThe American kestrel mates from March to April to early June, depending on its geographic location.

 

American KestrelThe female American kestrel may mate with two or three males before settling on a single mate. She lays three to seven eggs. The female does most of the incubation. The eggs hatch in about a month. At first, the male brings food to the female who then feeds the chicks. Later, the male will also feed the chicks. The chicks fledge in about 30 days but stay with their parents for a few weeks after fledging.

  Behavior
Except for during mating season, the American kestrel is a solitary animal.



 


Advertisement: