American Kestrel
Topic(s):   Raptors
Quick Facts
Type of Animal bird
Habitat grasslands, deserts, farmland, citied
Diet crickets, grasshoppers, snakes, lizards, voles
Migration yes (those that live farthest north)
Male tiercel
Female falcon
Baby chick
Group cast
Predators of eggs/young cats, fire ants, snakes, raccoons, crows
Predators of adults owls, hawks, eagles, falcons, people
Endangered no

The American kestrel, or sparrow hawk, is not a hawk. It is the smallest North American falcon. This falcon is only eight to 11 inches long. It does not eat sparrows very often, either.

The American kestrel helps humans by eating insects and rodents. The kestrel sits high on a pole or power line. It has very good eyesight. When it sees a grasshopper, it swoops down. It grabs the prey with its talons.

The kestrel has spots on the back of its head. These spots look like eyes. The spots fool a predator. The predator thinks the kestrel is watching.

The kestrel is a cavity nester. It likes hollow trees and old woodpecker holes. There are not many old trees left. This falcon will nest in buildings or nest boxes, too. The female lays three to seven eggs. The eggs hatch in about a month.

The American kestrel can be found from Central America through southern Canada.

Citation information

APA Style: American Kestrel. (2014, March). Retrieved from Facts4Me at

MLA Style: "American Kestrel." Facts4Me. Mar. 2014.

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