American Kestrel

– The Smallest Falcon in North America

The American Kestrel, also known as the Sparrow Hawk, is a small but mighty bird of prey that can be found throughout North America. This falcon’s distinctive markings and impressive hunting skills make it a favorite among bird watchers and conservationists alike.

Basic Description

The American Kestrel is the smallest falcon in North America, measuring just under a foot long with a wingspan of around 2 feet. Males are slightly smaller than females and have blue-gray wings with black spots while females have reddish-brown wings with black bars. Both sexes have rusty-colored backs and tails, white faces with black stripes, and striking yellow eyes.

Where To Find This Bird

American Kestrels can be found all across North America from Alaska to Mexico. They prefer open habitats such as grasslands, fields, meadows, deserts or agricultural areas where they can hunt for their prey.


American Kestrels are adaptable birds that can thrive in both natural and urban environments. They nest in tree cavities or old woodpecker holes but will also use man-made structures such as nest boxes on poles or buildings if available.


As carnivorous birds of prey, kestrels feed primarily on insects like grasshoppers and beetles but also target rodents like mice and voles; they may even catch small birds occasionally when other food sources become scarce.

Cool Facts:

– Unlike most raptors which rely mainly on vision to hunt their prey; kestrels use sound too!
– During courtship displays males perform an aerial dance that includes hovering flights.
– These birds tend to migrate relatively short distances during winter months.
– The population of this species has declined significantly over recent years due primarily habitat fragmentation, use of pesticides and reduction of prey species.

In summary, the American Kestrel is a small but powerful bird that has adapted well to various environments. Their impressive hunting skills and distinctive markings make them a favorite among bird enthusiasts. However, their population decline in recent years is concerning and conservation efforts should be taken to protect this beautiful bird for future generations to enjoy.