American kestrel

American Kestrel

American kestrel
Falco sparverius

This petite falcon, the smallest in North America, is an efficient and feisty predator. Kestrels will hunt small mammals, insects and even birds—which is why their nickname is “sparrow hawk.” In the Bay Area, you might see a kestrel perched on a wire or pole near open spaces, farmlands, and even urban areas. They will nest in tree holes, rock crevices, and nest boxes made by humans.

Is it a boy or girl?

For most raptor species, it can be hard to tell. However, you can identify a male kestrel from a female by the feather colors. Males have blue-gray wings while females have brown wings with black bars.

Our resident kestrel, Falco, is a male. He came to live at Lindsay Wildlife in 2014 after injuring his wing near Clear Lake, California.