do kestrels eat other birds

A.K.A.: Sparrow hawk, killy hawk, mouser

Field marks: a colorful, blue-jay-sized falcon with long, sickle-shaped wings, a longish tail, and noticeable markings on its head. Male American kestrels have blue wings, rufous backs, and rufous tails with black tips. Their underparts are rufous to white, occasionally speckled with black. Females have creamy underparts streaked with rufous bars on their wings, tails, and backs.

Flight pattern: Usually migrates by itself, but occasionally migrates in small flocks with other raptors. Occasionally soars; usually flaps and glides while migrating. Quick, erratic flight.

American Kestrel Raptor Bites

  • belonged to the Falconidae family, which includes 60 species of falcons, pygmy falcons, forest falcons, and caracaras.
  • Are about the size of a Blue Jay.
  • Were once called sparrow hawks.
  • occur in the boreal forests of Alaska and Canada, as well as in Tierra del Fuego in southern South America.
  • Occur only in the New World.
  • Due to their diminutive stature and preference for perching on power lines, American Kestrels are frequently confused with Mourning Doves.
  • Male American Kestrels have blue-gray wings; females have brown wings.
  • As early as three weeks of age, one can distinguish between the plumage of male and female American Kestrels.
  • do not construct their own nests; instead, they build their nests in human-built nestboxes and cavities left by other birds.
  • When migrating, kestrels can travel great distances or not at all.
  • Male kestrels in North America spend the winter months further north than female kestrels.
  • Compared to males, female kestrels hunt in more open, less forested areas during the winter.
  • Since the early 1950s, Hawk Mountain Sanctuary has been building nestboxes for kestrels in the Kempton Valley.
  • One of the most well-known, frequently observed, and easily recognizable raptors in North America is the American kestrel, which is also the smallest and most colorful falcon in the continent. Kestrels are large, colorful, open-habitat predators that resemble mourning doves.

Do American kestrels migrate?

One of the 26 raptors in North America that are partially migratory is the American Kestrel.

Some, but not all, populations of kestrels are migratory. Birds in northern areas migrate farther than those in southern areas, and American Kestrels breed more frequently in northern regions of their range than in southern regions. Many southern populations are sedentary. The species has a “leap-frog” migration pattern whereby birds from the north winter south of birds from the south. Most American Kestrels that breed in North America spend the winter in the United States, unlike Peregrines and Merlins, which frequently travel to the tropics. American Kestrel migration patterns, like those of many other raptors, focus on leading lines, especially those that follow the Atlantic Coast, the Great Lakes shorelines, and the ridges of the Appalachian Mountains in the East and the Rocky Mountains in the West. Generally speaking, inland watch sites have lower American Kestrel migration counts than coastal watch sites. Like other falcons, kestrels migrate mostly on their own and only sporadically soar in the air. Nevertheless, when flying, American Kestrels frequently take advantage of advantageous soaring conditions like thermals and mountain updrafts. The species avoids large water-crossings. Kestrel flights at Hawk Mountain Sanctuary are highest on days following a cold front, probably due to the powerful updrafts that accompany these events. Because male kestrels take longer than females to complete their pre-migratory molt, juvenile and female kestrels typically migrate earlier in the autumn. The median date of female passage at Hawk Mountain Sanctuary is eleven days earlier than the date of male passage. If more favorable habitats are already occupied, males who arrive late on the wintering grounds may be forced to spend the winter in less than ideal conditions. It appears that the sexes winter in different habitats in southern North America, with males spending more time in wooded areas and females in more open habitats. The kestrel migration at Hawk Mountain Sanctuary peaks in mid-September and lasts through mid-October.


Do kestrels eat starlings?

Looking out onto the lawn I saw that a kestrel had caught a starling which it has pinned to the ground and was ‘kneading it’ with its talons and pecking at its head. This I found most surprising as I was unaware that kestrels would kill birds never mind one as large as a starling.

Do kestrels eat robins?

Kestrels mainly eat rodents but they will occasionally take a garden bird, especially a young one, if the opportunity arises. But the kestrels that visit my garden know that I have left food for them and so they leave them alone.

Do kestrels eat finches?

In the western United States, they tend to hunt more small mammals, such as voles and mice. In the winter, when small mammals are scarce, kestrels are known to switch to a diet of mostly birds, such as sparrows and finches.

Do American Kestrels eat chickens?

Diet. In the wild, American kestrels eat insects, small mammals such as voles and mice, small birds, frogs, lizards, and snakes. At Cosley Zoo, the kestrels are fed meat such as mice, chicken, and quail.