Kestrel, an Old World falcon. It is also called windhover because of its habit of hovering against the wind while scanning the earth for prey. The mature bird is about 13 inches (33 cm) long. The kestrel feeds chiefly on insects and mice, but kills small birds also.

The American kestrel,The American kestrel, or sparrow hawk, feeds chiefly on insects and mice.

The American kestrel, or sparrow hawk, is a closely related American species about 11 inches (28 cm) long. The female is brownish, barred with black. The male is slate-blue on the wings and the rear of the back.

Is Flapping the Only Way to Fly?

The kestrel can hover, or stay in one place in the air, with its wings beating rapidly. For this reason, the it is known as a windhover. As it hovers, a kestrel also hunts for prey. It dives down and uses its strong talons to strike its prey. Its catch might be a mouse, a lizard, or a grasshopper.

Kestrels live all over the world, except Antarctica. They nest in trees or on cliffs or tall buildings. While looking for prey, kestrels may perch on telephone wires or poles. Kestrels can often be seen along country roads. They can be spotted around suburban houses, too.

Kestrels belong to the falcon family, Falconidae. The American kestrel is Falco sparverius. The common kestrel is F. tinnunculus, and the lesser kestrel is F. naumanni.