Falco sparverius (female)
Photographed at Mountsberg, ON with Nikon D90 and Sigma 150-500 mm
Perhaps the most colorful raptor in the world, the American Kestrel is the most common falcon in North America. It is found from Alaska to Tierra del Fuego, and in towns as well as wild lands.
Although hover-hunting is conspicuous, this foraging method actually is used rather infrequently. It is used most often when suitable perches are not available, or when winds are strong enough to create updrafts favorable to hovering.
In winter in many southern parts of the range, female and male American Kestrels use different habitats. The female uses the preferred more open habitat, and the male uses areas with more trees. This situation appears to be the result of the females migrating south first and establishing winter territories. The males then are forced into the less preferred areas.