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American Kestrel

Falco sparverius

American Kestrel, Falco sparverius, photo © by Mike Plagens

This American Kestrel has just caught a male House Sparrow (Passer domesticus) that had been feasting at a bird feeder. Its alarm calls had summoned a groupd of grackles intent on disrupting the falcon's meal. Photo from Thunderbird-Paseo, Glendale, Arizona. Dec. 2009.

Small, but powerful falcons that can kill birds as large as Mourning Doves. Also can also spot grasshoppers and other large insects on the ground and swoop down from a high perch to catch them. Once known as the Sparrow Hawk. Very common in winter on utility wires and poles. But fairly common all year in deserts, in agricultural areas, and in the cities. Note the beautiful coppery head and back - which is brighter in males.

Year-round Resident - Some Winter Migration from North

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Copyright Michael J. Plagens, 1999-2009