American Kestrel

photo by Phil Swanson

Falco sparverius
L 10 1/2″(27 cm) W 23″(58 cm).

Song or calls:
Listen (NGPC audio)

Very vocal, with loud rapid “killy-killy-killy.”

Description: Small.
Rufous crown, back, and tail. Slate blue wings. Buff-colored breast. Black spotting on belly. Double black stripes on a white face. Female has similar head pattern, but back and wings are brown. Female has heavier streaking.

Behavior: Nests in old woodpecker holes or nest boxes near grasslands or croplands.

american kestrel
Habitat: Often perches on elevated sites such as telephone poles and trees in open country.

Where in Nebraska: Common statewide permanent resident. Some individuals migrate, as kestrels are less common in winter than in spring or fall. Regular breeder.

Fun Facts: Nestling Kestrels back up, raise their tails and squirt feces onto the wall fo the nest cavity!

American Kestrel - NEBRASKAland Magazine/Nebraska Game and Parks Commission American Kestrel - photo by Phil Swanson
(click image for larger view)