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American Kestrel | California Living Museum

Animals

American Kestrel

  • Though often called the sparrow hawk, the American kestrel is actually the smallest and most common falcon in North America. A dark vertical stripe under the eye and narrow pointed wings are some identifying marks of this falcon. Males are more colorful than females with blue-gray wing feathers. The female has brown and chestnut wings and a pale striped breast.

    They feed on large insects, small birds, and small mammals, usually mice and grasshoppers. They will hunt by perching or hovering in the air and then swooping down when they see their prey. During the summer, the kestrel will usually hunt in the early morning or evening and during the day in winter. They can be found across North and South America in areas that are not heavily forested, and have no seasonal migration.

    The female will lay 3-7 white, cream, or pale pink eggs. The female incubates the eggs for around 30 days, while the male hunts for the family.

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