American Kestrel
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Even though it is the smallest species of raptor inhabiting our region, the American kestrel (Falco sparverius) is equipped with all of the characteristics that enable raptors to succeed in their natural environments, and cause people to feel awe and wonder whenever they observe other raptors such as hawks and eagles. Kestrels are seen flying and soaring high overhead, exhibit a fierce and feisty demeanor, have innate predatory skills, and highly-developed eye sight as well. The kestrel belongs to a group of raptors known as Falcons, which are distinguished from other hawks by their proportionately larger heads, pointed-tipped wings, and relatively longer tails. American kestrels fly with quick and shallow wing beats and often hover in mid-air while hunting for prey. The male American kestrel can be told from the female while in flight by his spotted breast and bluish-gray upper-wings contrasting with his reddish-brown back. Females sport streaks of reddish-brown underneath and are entirely reddish-brown above. The female is noticeably larger than the male. - ----------------- by Claude G. Edwards

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