American Kestrel, Falco sparverius


American Kestrel
Kestrels are one of our most common raptors, often seen perched, and also hovering over grass fields and hillsides as they forage for small mammals. Though widespread and abundant, and gloriously photogenic, they are skittish and stingy with good photo-ops. Males, shown above and in the next two images down, have back and underparts rufous-based and spotted black, solid dark gray wings also with black spots, and a black terminal bar to their tails.


American Kestrel


American Kestrel


American Kestrel
Females, as above, have rufous streaked white underparts, and upperparts rufous with gray barring.


American Kestrel
I photographed the male above and the female below (at different times) on
the same snag in Arastradero Preserve.



American Kestrel


American Kestrel
I photographed the female shown above and below from my car; the view below was so close, unprecedently so for this shy species, that I couldn't even get the whole bird in the frame.


American Kestrel


American Kestrel
I saw this pair copulating from a distance, too far away to get a good photo, but I approached carefully and to my happy surprise they stayed long enough for me to record this moment.