The most colorful of all the falcons. Also known as the "Sparrow Hawk" because it feeds most often on small birds, such as House Sparrows. Rather than catching its prey in midair, like most falcons, it picks its prey off the ground. Small birds, rodents, and insects are all on the Kestrel's menu. The female does most of the egg incubation, while the male provides food for both the female and the newborn young.
General: 9 to 12 inches in length. Small falcon with rusty colored back and long tail. Short, dark, yellow and black hooked beak. White cheeks. Short yellow talons. Two black mustache marks on face.
Male: Blue-gray wing coverts. White/buff belly. Rust spot on crown. Rusty nape. Blue-gray crown. Black spots on belly, back, and wings. Immature male is similar to female.
Female: Rust colored wing coverts and nape. Pale buff chest with brown streaks. Wings and back have black bars.
Open country, farmlands, and residential areas.
4-5 white or pinkish eggs with brown blotches and a 29-31 day incubation period. Fledging occurs 30-31 days after hatching. The eggs are laid in a natural or man-made cavity without any nest or lining.
- Lake Murray, La Mesa
- Ocean Beach
- Fiesta Island, Mission Bay