The American Kestrel Falcon, although the second smallest falcon in the world, is one of the most beneficial. It dines mainly on pests such as mice, grasshoppers and beetles. It is not shy; often it is found nesting near roads or farmhouses. They are also one of the most common falcons, with an estimated breeding population of 1.2 million in North America.
The American Kestrel Falcon is typical of a falcon, with dark eyes, a notched beak and unfeathered legs. The male has blue wings and rusty shoulders, barred black. The underparts are white splotched grey or black, under the tail is pure white. The head is white capped with blue then rust. The eyes have a vertical bar through them. The tail is also rust colored, and has a black terminal bar. The female is rusty barred black, except for the primaries, which are grey edged with white.
The Kestrel is found throughout Canada and in the US east of the Rocky Mountains. They winter in southern US throughout Mexico and Central America. They will live almost anywhere- suburbs, fields, forest edges, deserts and alpine ranges. They prefer open spaces, as with most falcons.
They nest in cavities, abandoned woodpecker holes and man made nests, also on cliffs and in outbuildings. They use no material to line the nest. 3-5 white or reddish white eggs, spotted with red or brown, are laid. The eggs are incubated by both parents for 30 days. The young grow quickly, reaching the weight of the adult in 2.5 weeks and they fledge in another 1.5-2 weeks. They will nest in another site if the first nest is attacked or proves insufficient. Many of the southern pairs of Kestrels will hatch 2 clutches per year.
The American Kestrel Falcon is not rare, and has no special status in any state in the US except Florida, where it is considered "threatened".