American Kestrel

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Falco sparverius American Kestrel

Family Falconidae

Powerful hunters distinguished from hawks by long narrow & pointed wings, bent backwards at the wrist. Females larger than males. Kill prey using their notched bill to sever spinal cord at the neck


  • Male has white spots on trailing edge of wings
  • Pale underwing
  • 10.5 inches long- smallest & most common falcon. Day-active
  • Both sexes have: small & slim shape; long tail and angled wings; double face stripe

Habitats: Found in open habitats, often seen on roadside wires or fence posts, pumping tail. Often hovers when hunting.

Prey: insects & small mammals. In winter, also eats small birds

3 photos of captive female (injured & used for education)