Our American Kestrel came to CA&NC in the summer of 2009 from Walden’s Puddle Rehab Center in Joelton, TN. She was found on a sidewalk in Springfield, TN with a broken leg and wing. With wing injuries non-recoverable, she made her new home with our off-exhibit birds that travel to classrooms throughout the year. She eats one mouse six days per week.
Open areas including deserts, meadows, grasslands, agricultural fields, urban and suburban areas
Length 8.7 – 9.2 in
Wingspan 20.1 – 24 in
Weight 2.8 – 5.8 oz
Sexually dimorphic in coloration.
- Adult Male: Gray crown; rufous nape with black spot on either side; dark mustaches around white cheeks; back is bright rufous with black barring on lower back; tail is patterned with highly variable amounts of black, white, or grey bands; wings are blue-grey with dark primaries; underparts are whitewashed with cinnamon.
- Adult Female: Head similar to male, but more brown on crown; back, wings, and tail are reddish brown with dark barring; subterminal tail band much wider than other bands; underparts are buffy white with reddish streaks.
Shrill sounding “klee, klee,klee”
Large insects, small mammals, reptiles, amphibians, and birds.
Average 1 – 7 eggs.
3 – 5 years in the wild; Up to 14 years in captivity
- During migration males and females sometimes do not use the same habitat. Females are more often seen in the open areas, while males are forced into the woods. Speculation is that this happens because the females migrate first to establish winter territories, and the males are left with the less desired habitat.
- The American Kestrel is the smallest and most numerous of all North American falcons.
- American Kestrels can be easily identified by the way they pump their tails and bob their heads, believed to be linked with agitation and hunting.
- Because of their size and coloration, American Kestrels are often mistaken for song birds.