Thursday, 13 November 2014

American Kestrel (Crécerelle d'Amérique)

Humber Bay Park East
Toronto, ON
12 November 2014

     American Kestrel Falco sparverius is the most colourful of falcons, and one of the toughest too. Although its range covers most of North, Central and South America, many individuals do not migrate to escape the winter at these latitudes. This male was photographed yesterday, scanning the grass below for signs of rodents, or perhaps an injured songbird. 

     Kestrels are pretty opportunistic feeders and during the summer months consume a great deal of insects, especially the larger types such as dragonflies, damselflies and crickets. 
     Many years ago I saw one take down a Northern Flicker Colaptes auratus that was feeding on the ground. It took a while for the kestrel to subdue and dispatch its prey, which it then dragged off along the ground. Surely this must represent the absolute limit of the prey size a kestrel could handle, and it doubtless is an unusual choice for I have never seen it capture anything remotely that size since.

     During the winter months, voles and other rodents comprise almost a hundred percent of its food, and an American Kestrel is an efficient hunter.
Their bright colours certainly enliven the winter landscape.


  1. One of my favourite birds to spot. The colours are so incredible when you see one closely!

  2. Yours are more richly coloured than ours. I once saw one so full of mice it could barely take off!

  3. This falcon is much nicer than the kestrel that we have.
    Very nice to see David:-)

  4. Appearance-wise, your Kestrels just have the edge over ours, David.

    Any Kestrel is a delight to see, and we see a lot of them over here!

    Best wishes - - - Richard

  5. Mmm, I having problems to post a comment here!
    Gorgeous little kestrel and great pics, David!
    He looks more colorful than the European one