University of Maryland Extension

American Kestrel: The Barnyard Friend

M. Allan Daly
American Kestrel

The American kestrel is the smallest member of the falcon family found in North America. It is a common bird throughout suburban and rural areas. The male kestrel's contrasting slate blue and brown plumage often catches the eyes of passing motorists. The species nests primarily in tree cavities and hunts by hovering in the air, diving down to catch its prey on the ground. They provide farm and nonfarm areas with help in managing a wide range of pests. This fact sheet illustrates how to attract kestrels to your property.

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