Perhaps the most colorful raptor in the world, the American Kestrel (Falco sparverius) is the most common falcon in North America. It is found from Alaska to Tierra del Fuego, and in towns as well as wild lands. The Kestrel pictured here during a recent visit to Art Farm was visiting from Sky Hunters Raptor Education & Rehabilitation in Alpine, CA. Sky Hunters is a non-profit that rehabilitates injured and orphaned raptors of all kinds.
The male Kestrel’s wings are blue-gray with black spots. The tail is reddish-brown (or rufous-colored) on the back with a broad black subterminal band and a white or rufous tip. The tail is white underneath with a few incomplete black bars. The back and rump is an orange to rufous, with a variable amount of black barring. Underparts are pale buff to orange, with variable amount of black spotting, especially along the sides. The crown (top of the head) is blue-gray with some orange. Buffy spots with dark centers are on either side of nape (back of head), making “eyespots” visible from behind. The female Kestrel’s wings are rufous barred with black. The tail is rufous with black bands and the underparts are creamy to buff, heavily streaked with brown. The back is rufous with heavy dark barring. The crown is gray and the legs yellow.
Based on these descriptions, can you identify the gender of this Kestrel?