North America’s Smallest Falcon

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Being both the smallest and most common falcon of North America, it is said the American Kestrel is also the most colorful!

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Male American Kestrel (identified by his wing’s slate blue/gray color that the female lacks)

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Their size:
–  Length: 8.7-12.2 in (22-31 cm)
–  Weight: 2.8-5.8 oz (80-165 g)
–  Wingspan: 20.1-24.0 in (51-61 cm)

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Kestrels are most commonly seen on fences, telephone poles, and utility lines.  So when I saw this kestrel atop a palm tree spike, I knew I had to get the shot.

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American Kestrel (male) with a big view

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Cool fact:
Unlike humans, birds can see ultraviolet light.  This enables kestrels to literally see the trails of urine that voles leave as they run along the ground.  Like neon Diner signs, these bright paths highlight the way to an instant meal for the American Kestrel!

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American Kestrel at sunset

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44 thoughts on “North America’s Smallest Falcon

  1. Wonderful sighting, Donna! We only see Kestrels rarely and I love their beautiful colors! We have a permanently injured American Kestrel at the Nature Center where I volunteer. So sad that she can’t return to the wild, and she’s still skittish around people.

    • Thank you, Carol. Sorry to hear about your female kestrel, I can only imagine how scared she must feel being injured and vulnerable. I’m going to make you jealous, there are quite a few kestrels around Everglades City, I see them almost daily. I’m trying to figure out if they each have their own a territory.

      • Lucky you! I look forward to finding out what you discover about how large their territories are. We were just talking up here about how many pairs of Great Horned Owls can be sustained on our refuge, and then realized of course that the refuge lands probably consist of tens of thousands of more acres than what the public can actually visit and see!

  2. Beautiful shots, Donna. I have only one photo of a Kestrel and not a good one… πŸ™‚

  3. I have yet to see a Kestrel up close in person. These are beautiful photos, and a real incentive to get out there myself and find one.

  4. These cute little guys are my favorite raptor. Used to see them sitting on the fence posts on the road to work in Utah!

    Great shots with fantastic detail! (As usual)! 😊

  5. That cool fact is so interesting! Amazing… Our nature center has a rescued kestrel who cannot be returned to the wild so it’s been a thrill to see this bird up close. I love his coloring. It’s so nice to see your pictures of one in a natural setting.

    • Saw that cool fact and had to post it, lol. So sorry to hear about your injured kestrel, they must feel so helpless and vulnerable. They are beautiful! Now my hunt is on to find them not on a wire or pole! πŸ˜‰

  6. Such a pretty little raptor. I photographed some captives at a wildlife refuge Back East years ago and got to see the beautiful markings close up. I am always glad to see them flying about the ranch fields here in Colorado. Nice captures Donna!

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