Saturday, March 10, 2012

American Kestrel

Falco sparverius
The American Kestrel (another suggestion from a reader, yay!) is the smallest Falcon in North America. For a comparison to other Birds of Prey, their maximum body length is around half that of a Red-Tailed Hawk, and less than 1/3 the length of a Bald Eagle. Unfortunately, their small size means that they can become prey for these larger cousins, as well for other large birds like Crows and Ravens.

American Kestrels live in both North and South America. Some populations live year round (in the warmer climates) while others migrate seasonally. They prefer to live in open grassland areas that have a sparse smattering of trees. They've also taken to man made habitats as well, and can be seen in suburbs and around sports stadiums. (The bright lights attract the insects that the Kestrels love to munch on!)

Interestingly, another name for the American Kestrel is the Sparrow-Hawk. But they don't really eat too many Sparrows. It is true that they will occasionally feed on smaller birds, small mammals, and reptiles, but they mainly dine on invertebrates.

When it comes time to nest, American Kestrels settle down in preexisting tree holes and cavities. The females select their mates, and the pair will remain monogamous through that season. 2-4 chicks are born at a time, and they leave the nest when they are a month old, though the family unit may remain together for a bit longer.

American Kestrels are listed as being of Least Concern, as they have a very wide range and high population. They are believed to be the most abundant Falcon in North America, with the population well over 1 million birds.

IUCN Status : Least Concern
Location : North and South America
Size : Body Length around 12in (30cm), Wingspan up to 24in (60cm)
Classification : Phylum : Chordata -- Class : Aves -- Order : Falconiformes
Family : Falconidae -- Genus : Falco -- Species : F. sparverius

1 comment:

  1. This bird is so pretty. Have you done a Fish Eagle which has the finest call of all the South African Eagles? Amazing to listen to two of them calling. Diane


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