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Falco sparverius

American Kestrel

  • Order: Falconiformes
  • Family: Falconidae
  • Polytypic 17 Subspecies

Authors:

Falco sparverius

Río Cañas, Añasco, Puerto Rico; 21 March 2007 © Rafy Rodriguez

The American Kestrel is a widespread, familiar small falcon of open country throughout the Americas. It is resident through much of the Neotropics, although it is absent from much of the Amazon basin, and in much of Mexico and Central America it is present only as nonbreeder during the northern winter. Kestrels occur in a wide array of open habitats including desert, grassland, savanna, scrub, agricultural land, and grassy marshes at all elevations. The male is orange on the back and tail, with blue gray wings, a blue gray cap, and black markings on the face and belly. The female is similar but lacks the blue gray color and is uniform orange above. The roughly seventeen subspecies differ slightly in plumage saturation and in size. Subspecies sparverioides of Cuba, the Isle of Pines, and the Bahamas is the most distinctive; it has a dark morph that is very sooty overall and a light morph that is much paler than most other populations. The American Kestrel feeds on arthropods and various small vertebrates, hunting either from a perch or by hovering in the air. It nests in an adopted cavity or ledge in a cliff, bank, trunk, or building or adopts an old stick nest.

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Recommended Citation

. 2010. American Kestrel (Falco sparverius), Neotropical Birds Online (T. S. Schulenberg, Editor). Ithaca: Cornell Lab of Ornithology; retrieved from Neotropical Birds Online: http://neotropical.birds.cornell.edu/portal/species/overview?p_p_spp=132916

This map is based on the maps available from the NatureServe InfoNatura website. The data for these maps are provided by NatureServe in collaboration with Robert Ridgely, James Zook, The Nature Conservancy - Migratory Bird Program, Conservation International - CABS, World Wildlife Fund - US, and Environment Canada - WILDSPACE.

  • Migration/Movement:Complex Migrant
  • Primary Habitat:Pastures/agricultural land
  • Foraging Strata:Terrestrial
  • Foraging Behavior:---
  • Diet:Small vertebrates and large arthropods
  • Sociality:
  • Mating System:
  • Nest Form:
  • Clutch: -
  • IUCN Status:Least Concern