Wednesday, January 22, 2014

American Kestrel

Shortly after spending a few hours at the Bailey Tract, I went home and was instantly greeted by a Kestrel.

A curious Kestrel.


  1. American Kestrel's rarely let you get very close, so you may have been fortunate here. There are a lot of subspecies and there is high variation in plumage among them. In general, Kestrels of the south are more pale than those of the north, and Kestrels from arid regions are more pale than those of wetter regions. The crown becomes less rufous in Kestrels of the south compared to northern Kestrels. Your Kestrel does appear pale.

  2. You commented . . . "I looked in my small library of books - looking for similar photos ... my question is: Would this coloring be indicative of age?"

    Neither my Sibley Guide to Birds or Peterson Guide (eastern and central) makes reference to subspecies or variations in kestrel plumage. The Sibley guide notes that male and female juveniles are similar to their respective parents. It could be that you are unaccustomed to seeing the male of the species which is indeed lighter on the breast than the female.

    My somewhat related understanding about Burrowing Owls is that the male, which guards the entrance of the burrow in the late winter, spring, and summer months, makes itself readily distinguishable from the female late in the nesting season as its feathers get "bleached" from the sun resulting in a lighter colored bird.

    Great pics, France.

  3. Someone mentioned "Leucistic" what are your thoughts on that? I searched/googled this, however a leucistic Kestrel doesn't have the facial bars - so I'm thinking that this might not apply.
    One thing is for certain - watching birds is definitely more interesting than many other activities that I can think of....this actually requires thinking, knowledge and willingness to grow and open your mind.