Thursday, November 9, 2017

Crops & Clips: American Kestrel

I grew up calling them Sparrow Hawks or Killy Hawks, although they are falcons, more closely related genetically to parrots than to true hawks. The American Kestrel is the only representative of the kestrel family native to North America. Their prey consists mostly of insects and small animals such as lizards, snakes and mice, although they are capable of catching small birds.

American Kestrel 06-20171103

An American Kestrel munches on a dragonfly in our local south Florida wetlands:

American Kestrel eating dragonfly 04-20160322

Another seems to be waving"Hello!" One of its calls is a prolonged "killy-killy-killy...," hence its nickname:

American Kestrel HDR 02-20160307

They are often seen perching on utility wires:

American Kestrel male 3-20151220

The above photos show adult males with blue wings, while those of the larger female are brown:

American Kestrel female 20140301

The male's tail is more colorful. It is often spread and bobbed up and down after landing:

American Kestrel 3-20160109

This kestrel is stretching its wing:

Kestrel stretching 20101210

An American Kestrel in flight:

American Kestrel IL20101108

Male American Kestrel Flying

Although sometimes harassed by jays and mockingbirds, I have seen them roosting peacefully with other bird species, even a Mourning Dove (I missed that photo, which I would have captioned "Make Peace, Not War")...

A Blue Jay threatens:

Blue Jay and Kestrel 3-20101210

A Northern Mockingbird has some unkind words to say:

Mockingbird vs kestrel 20120222

This Loggerhead Shrike co-exists:

Kestrel and shrike 20120224

A pair of Northern Flickers find safety in numbers:

Flickers and kestrel 20120218

My jackpot shot-- A Belted Kingfisher and a pair of shrikes:

Kestrel kingfisher and shrikes 20111127

Kestrel hunting style includes "kiting, " by facing into a headwind and remaining motionless in the sky. This makes it easier for it to spot the movements of prey:

American Kestrel kiting HDR 05-20161011

This falcon on a fence is a Merlin, a bit larger than a kestrel:

Falcon On Fence 20081211

This Merlin exhibits a single vertical line under its eye, while the Kestrel has a bolder mark and a second parallel line posterior to its white cheek:

Merlin 4-20130209

This past weekend, rain threatened as Mary Lou and I got out early to visit the Chapel Trail Nature Preserve:

 Rain over Chapel Trail 20171104

We then led a bird walk in the wetlands adjacent to SW Regional Library in nearby Pembroke Pines. It rained on and off and only one participant showed up. He is enjoying a rainbow which appeared over the boardwalk:

Rainbow over LibraryWetlands 20171104

= = =  = = =  = = = =  = = = = =

Linking to Misty's  CAMERA CRITTERS,

Linking to Eileen's SATURDAY'S CRITTERS,


Linking to SKYWATCH FRIDAY by Yogi, Sylvia and Sandy


Linking to BirdD'Pot by Anni

Linking to Wild Bird Wednesday by Stewart

Linking to Wordless Wednesday (on Tuesday) by NC Sue

Linking to ALL SEASONS by Jesh


Please visit the links to all these memes to see some excellent photos on display



  1. Beautiful photos of this Kestrel and some good info, some of which I didn't know. I also love that last photo. What a gem.

  2. Beautiful captures of the Kestrel and funny how it got it's Killy Hawk nickname!

  3. The kestrel is so beautiful. I enjoyed his socializing or lack of with the other birds.

  4. That's some jackpot shot! I rarely see Kestrels anymore.

  5. Hello, awesome post and photos on the Kestrel. I love your jackpot photo, great timing. Beautiful photos. Thank you for linking up and sharing your post. Happy Saturday, enjoy your weekend!

  6. Love those shots, and I learned something new today. Always thought the Kestrel was a hawk. Thanks!

  7. It's a real treat to see a Kestrel here and many times they are too far away to get a good photo. I grew up calling them Sparrow Hawks too. Enjoy your weekend and the beautiful weather.

  8. Wonderful photos of the Kestrels!
    Hope you are having a great week-end!

  9. A fascinating bird! Incredible photos!

  10. extraordinary!!! My favorite is the one of the Kestrel in the pine! wow.

    Thanks, as always, for sharing this post with us birders at I'd Rather B Birdin' this week!! Your participation is very much appreciated.

  11. Learned some interesting things about these birds. Am surprized the kestrel would catch another bird (I guess in their eyes not all birds are equal!) Fun to see who hangs out with who:):) Many thanks for your share for All Seasons, Ken! always such great posts! Have a beautiful week.

  12. Gorgeous birds - what lovely photos!
    Thanks for sharing with us at

  13. What wonderful images of these majestic creatures!

  14. I LOVE birds of prey. Here in Arkansas the Red tailed and Red Shouldered Hawks are common. Some Bald Eagles winter at the local lakes. Very nice images of a beautiful bird. Thanks fro sharing.

  15. I was watching the Australian species of Kestrel at the train station today - no camera of course.

    Nice set of pictures.

    Cheers - Stewart M - Melbourne

  16. Very nice shots! I love the bottom one!

  17. YOUR PHOTOGRAPHS really show the beautiul marking on these Kestrels Kenneth. Have a lovely weekend.


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