Falco Sparverius – American Kestrel

Falco Sparverius - American Kestrel in the United States

The sparrow hawk, Falco sparverius, is the smallest and most frequent falcon in North America. Its size varies by subspecies and sex, from a blue jay to a mourning dove. It is a well-established species with 17 subspecies suited to various conditions and habitats in the Americas. Its size (females are somewhat bigger) and plumage (both sexes have a rufous back with significant barring) are sexually dimorphic. Its plumage is bright and beautiful, and youngsters resemble adults.

Quick Overview: Falco Sparverius – American Kestrel
Body size: Around 9-12 in (23-30 cm) and a weight of 111 g (3.9 oz)
Main colors: Blue-gray, Red-brown, Black, White
Range: Throughout the United States
Migratory Bird: Yes
Best time of the year to see in the U.S.: All Year (January – December)
Conservation Status: Least Concern

Barred owl Description

The American kestrel is a tiny dichromatic falcon. Males have blue-gray wings and crowns, females have reddish-brown. Female juveniles resemble adult females. Adult males have no or mild spotting on their upper breast, whereas youngsters have considerable streaking. Adults have streaking in the crown patch on their heads, unlike youngsters. Adults have a black and white face pattern. They are easily distinguished by two large black slashes on their faces. Adult male and female American kestrels have a pointed, sharp beak measuring 1.2-1.4 cm.

Falco Sparverius - American Kestrel in the United States
Falco Sparverius – American Kestrel. Photo by: Jerry Kirkhart

Size

These birds have a length of 9-12 in (23-30 cm) and a weight of 111 g (3.9 oz). Their wings could range from 20-25 in (51-64 cm).

Feeding

American kestrels eat seasonally. Summer food includes grasshoppers, crickets, butterflies, moths, and beetles. Forage for tiny prey like mice and voles in the winter. In an urban setting, their food consists of 78% insects, 14% mammals, 6% reptiles and amphibians, and 3% birds. Kestrels hunt diurnally, hovering, perching, and in-flight bug capturing.

Habitat

American kestrels are solitary birds unless during the breeding season. They are the only North American falcon with fast wing beats and short glides. Birds can fight for prey, territory, and breeding locations. They generally include whirling an American kestrel can adapt well. Their range includes farmland, towns, deserts, plains, mountains, and tropical lowlands. Their habitat needs include broad hunting grounds, high perching locations, and nesting cavities. They prefer wide areas and cities.

Behavior

American kestrels are solitary birds unless during the breeding season. They are the only North American falcon with fast wing beats and short glides. Birds can fight for prey, territory, and breeding locations. They generally include whirling and diving at the opponent while shouting.

Falco sparverius Scientific Classification

  • Kingdom: Animalia
  • Phylum: Chordata
  • Subphylum: Chelicerata
  • Class: Aves
  • Order: Falconiformes
  • Family: Falconidae
  • Genus: Falco
  • Species: Falco sparverius

Best time of the year to see

In the United States, the best time of year to see these birds is all year round, regardless of the season. This refers to any month of the year between January and December.

Distribution of the Falco sparverius in the USA

America’s kestrels, Falco sparverius, are ubiquitous. Their range extends from Alaska to the southern point of South America. Most of the 48 contiguous states and every country in South America save Brazil have them permanently resident. Montana, North Dakota, and South Dakota, Wyoming, Minnesota, Wisconsin Michigan, and Maine are summer breeding states for this species.

The Falco sparverius can be also found in the following states in the United States – Alabama, Arizona, Arkansas, California, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, Florida, Georgia, Hawaii, Idaho, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maryland, Massachusetts, Mississippi, Missouri, Nebraska, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, North Carolina, Ohio, Oklahoma, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, Vermont, Virginia, Washington, and West Virginia.

Falco Sparverius – American Kestrel

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