American Kestrel

27 American Kestrel Fun Facts (with Photos, ID & Info)

The American Kestrel is a small falcon native to North America. It can be found in almost every part of the continent, but it’s rare in Canada and absent from much of Alaska. They are very fast and agile fliers, with the ability to hover in place for short periods of time. 

They live mainly in open country, but they also inhabit forested areas, especially near water or wetlands. In this article will explore 27 American Kestrel fun facts with photos, ID & information. 

American Kestrels are the smallest raptors in North America.

American Kestrels are the smallest raptors in North America. The American Kestrel lives all over North America except for Canada and some parts of Alaska because there are no open fields where they can hunt their prey successfully.

  • Length: 8.6-12.3 in (21.8-31.2 cm)
  • Weight: 2.7-5.9 oz (76.5-167.3 g)
  • Wingspan: 20.0-​24.1 in (50.8-61.2 cm)

They often called “the most beautifully colored raptor”.

The Kestrel is often called “the most beautifully colored raptor” because of the vivid and eye-catching colors that this bird possesses.

The American Kestrel is the smallest Falcon in North America.

The American Kestrel is the smallest Falcon in North America. It’s about as big as a large blue jay, but it has long wings and a long tail that help it catch insects on the wing.

Image by Steve Crowhurst from Pixabay

The American Kestrels range.

The American Kestrel is a falcon found in North America, Central America, South America, and the Caribbean Islands.​​​​​​​

American Kestrels diet.

Unlike other falcons, they only eat live prey like insects, mice, lizards and sometimes even bats! ​​​​​​​

American Kestrel live in open habitats.

It lives in open habitats like prairies, grasslands, orchards, and farms where it can hunt for prey like mice and voles. The American Kestrel is an active hunter that searches the ground for food while flying overhead with slow, deliberate wing beats.​​​​​​​

Kestrels have excellent vision.

Kestrels are a type of bird that is well known for their excellent vision. They have an extra layer in the retina called fovea, which enhances their ability to see detail and colors better than other birds.​​​​​​​ They have special receptors in the retina that give them very good visual acuity, even at a distance.

These receptors also help them detect movement, which can be useful when looking for prey on the ground. Their vision is so good that they can see up to three miles away and are able to focus on objects as close as eight inches away. 

Kestrels are known as Sparrowhawks or Falcons.

Kestrels are a type of bird known as falcons, but they are also called sparrowhawks. Kestrels are members of the Falconidae family, which includes other birds such as hawks and eagles.

They were given their name because they hunt by hovering in the air until prey is spotted on the ground below them. Once prey has been identified, kestrels then dive to catch it.​​​​​​​

The American Kestrel can fly up to 40 miles per hour.​​​​​​​

The American Kestrel is a type of falcon that can fly at speeds up to 40 miles per hour. These birds are very agile in the air and have a habit of hunting by diving into the ground from high altitudes.

They will then catch prey such as insects, or small mammals with their feet before taking off again to hunt for more food.​​​​​​​

American Kestrel
Image by PBarlowArt from Pixabay

Kestrel’s can live for up to 5 years.

The average lifespan for an American Kestrel is 3-5 years, but they can live up to 10 years in captivity. ​​​​​​​

Kestrel’s can be found all over the world.

Kestrels are a type of bird that can be found all over the world. In North America, they can be found in places like Alaska and Canada.

Central America has kestrels in Mexico and Guatemala. South America has them in Argentina, Bolivia, Chile, Ecuador, Paraguay, Peru and Uruguay.

Kestrels are monogamous, mate for life.

Kestrels are monogamous, and mate for life. This means that they will only mate with one partner in their lifetime and will not find another if their first partner dies. ​​​​​​​

Kestrels have one brood per year​​​​​​​.

American Kestrel’s usually have one brood per year, although they may produce a second if the first is lost to predators or weather.

The average clutch size is three eggs, which the female incubates for 28 days before hatching. Both parents feed their young until they leave the nest after about ten weeks of life.

Male Kestrels are slightly larger than females.

Male kestrels are slightly larger than females. In fact, in most cases, males will be about 20% heavier and taller than their female counterparts. Male kestrel’s typically weigh between 112-129 grams, while females typically weigh 100-113 grams. 

This size difference can make a big difference when it comes to mating, as the male needs to establish dominance over the female before he is able to copulate with her. To do this, they will chase each other around until one of them finally submits and allows themselves to be mounted by the other bird. ​​​​​​​

American Kestrel
Image by TheOtherKev from Pixabay

The Kestrel’s courtship dance. ​​​​​​​

The male kestrel performs an elaborate courtship dance to attract females for mating purposes. In addition to having impressive aerial skills, males will make zigzag movements on the ground, and they may also produce various sounds during their display. ​​​​​​​

Kestrels defend themselves with their talons

Kestrels are not passive creatures; they will use their talons as a means of self-defense when threatened by predators. They’re most often used to fend off mammals like squirrels or raccoons that may try to eat them while they’re nesting on a high perch.

Kestrels prefer to live in ground nests, not trees.

American Kestrels are known for living in nests on the ground, not in trees. They will typically live in a low spot where there is shelter from wind and predators.

The nest is often placed close to an opening that leads to water or food sources, so they can easily fly out of their nesting area to hunt prey or get a drink of water.​​​​​​​

Kestrels have a unique hunting technique.

Kestrels are medium-sized birds of prey that belong to the genus Falco. Kestrels have a very specific hunting technique which consists of watching from an elevated perch, then swooping down to capture prey by feet or talons.​​​​​​​

Kestrels spend less than 2 hours building their nests.

A kestrel’s nest is a shallow depression that is usually lined with feathers or leaves for insulation. They typically spend less than two hours building their nests because they often reuse old ones as well as build new ones every year.

Female kestrels do not start building their nests until they have mated with a male.

Kestrels scientific name is “Falco Sparverius”.

Falco Sparverius is a species of bird. It was first classified in 1855 by the French naturalist Louis Jean Pierre Vieillot. The scientific name “Falco Sparverius” means “Falcon of Sparrows”.

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Frequently Asked Questions

How fast can an American kestrel fly?

The average speed of an American kestrel in flight is 40 mph (64 km/h). The fastest recorded speed was 55 mph (88 km/h) when diving to the ground while hunting prey.

How much does a kestrel eat per day?

The kestrel eats small mammals, birds, insects, and typically feeds on rodents such as mice and voles. One might assume that it would not need to eat much food per day, but the opposite is true because it eats an astounding amount! A kestrel will consume approximately 500 grams of meat in one day, which translates to about 25% of its body weight.

Will a kestrel take a chicken?

Kestrels are beautiful birds of prey, but they won’t attack your chickens. They do enjoy eating smaller animals like rodents and insects, so if your yard has any of these pests it’s possible that the kestrel will come by occasionally to feed on them.

How fast can an American kestrel dive?

The American kestrel is a small falcon that can dive at speeds of up to 55 mph. An average, healthy adult kestrel has the ability to reach speeds of up to 55 miles per hour in just 3 seconds and maintain those speeds for another 2-3 seconds before it reaches its target.

Do American kestrels eat snakes?

Insects are the main food source for American kestrels, and they will also eat small mammals such as mice and voles. They have been known to hunt reptiles such as lizards, or snakes, other birds, amphibians and even bats in their natural habitat.