Fun Kestrel Bird Facts For Kids | Kidadl


Fun Kestrel Bird Facts For Kids

Arts & Crafts
Learn more
Reading & Writing
Learn more
Math & Logic
Learn more
Sports & Active
Learn more
Music & Dance
Learn more
Social & Community
Learn more
Mindful & Reflective
Learn more
Outdoor & Nature
Learn more
Read these Tokyo facts to learn all about the Japanese capital.

The kestrel is part of the falcon family (Falconidae) bird of prey that belongs to the group of kestrels. The European kestrel or Old World kestrel are both names for the same species. In Britain, where no other kestrel species is present, it is simply referred to as 'kestrel'. Kestrels are average-sized brown birds that can be seen hovering over a roadside. The skill of a kestrel, also known as a 'windhover,' to stay suspended in its flight in the air while pinpointing its prey on the ground is unusual among birds of prey. The standard hunting activity of kestrels is hovering at a height of about 35–65 ft (10–20 m) over open land and pounce on prey on the ground. Their prey are generally small rodents and large insects. Many falcons are ideally suited to hunting when in flight. Kestrels are mostly Old World birds, although the American kestrel (F. sparverius), also known as the sparrow hawk in the United States, is found in America. American Kestrels and Melins are similar species.

For more animal fact files, take a look at birds of paradise and barn owls.

Fun Kestrel Bird Facts For Kids

What do they prey on?

Voles, woodmice, small birds, insects

What do they eat?


Average litter size?

3 - 7

How much do they weigh?

6.5 oz (180 g)

How long are they?

11.8 - 14.1 in (30 – 36 cm)

How tall are they?


What do they look like?

Chestnut brown with black spots

Skin Type


What were their main threats?

Human, Eagle Owls, Northern Goshawks, Tawny Owls, Corn Snakes

What is their conservation status?

Least Concern

Where you'll find them?

Grasslands, Meadows, Parks, Desserts, Suburbs


Africa, Central, Europe, North America, Asia, And South









Kestrel Bird Interesting Facts

What type of animal is a Kestrel?

Kestrel is a type of bird who likes to prey. They are known for their hunting skills while hovering in the sky.

What class of animal does a Kestrel belong to?

The Kestrel bird belongs to the Aves class of animals.

How many Kestrels are there in the world?

There are many types of kestrel that can be seen in many parts of the world. The exact number of these birds of prey including all the species is not yet known. But the most common bird among the species is the Common Kestrel.  There are about 4 million - 6.5 million mature individuals of common Kestrels around the world.

Where does a Kestrel Bird live?

The geographical range of these birds is within Europe, Asia, Africa and South, Central, and North America. They range from the United Kingdom to China, as well as far south as South Africa. These migratory birds spend the winter in southern Europe and sub-Saharan Africa. The bulk of Europe's breeding population, however, is non-migratory. The American Kestrel (Falco sparverius) is the smallest and most colorful falcon in North America. Most of North America, Central America, and South America are home to the American kestrel. During the summer, they can be found in Canada and Alaska in their northern range.

What is a Kestrel Bird's habitat?

Common kestrels enjoy a habitat with clear, lush green areas and farmland areas with plenty of open space for hunting. They can be present in wooded areas and marshlands sometimes. Common kestrels can be found in flight at altitudes that range from sea level to nearly 5000 meters. Dense forests, large wetlands with no trees, and mountains are the only areas they avoid. They're a common sight and can be seen hovering in various habitats, hovering alongside a highway or other major expressway. On the lookout for food, these birds of prey are often seen perched on high branches of trees, a telephone pole, or a cable. Kestrels make their nest in holes of trees or on ledges on cliffs or houses.

Who do Kestrel Birds live with?

Kestrels, found in a vast variety of habitats, are primarily solitary species that are seldom seen in groups. During the breeding season, pairs can be seen.

How long does a Kestrel Bird live?

Wild kestrels are animals whose lifespan is about 10 years but can live up to 17 years in captivity.

How do they reproduce?

Kestrels are monogamous animals, and some couples stay together for years. Kestrels in sedentary populations often spend the whole year at their nest site. During the breeding season, common kestrels become very vocal, producing a number of calls. The majority of the calls, though, are used all year, and the birds only get more chatty during this season. When the female wants to mate, both the male and female make a call that sounds like 'quirrr-rr quirrr-rr.' The weather affects egg-laying, but the female usually lays her eggs in late April or early May. She will only lay eggs if she has enough food to feed. Kestrels build their nest on ledges, in tree holes, or in abandoned nests and lay eggs there. The female birds incubate the clutch of 3 to 7 eggs for 27 to 31 days, after which the chicks hatch. Both parents tend the baby birds, though the female feeds the newly hatched, and the male hunts and brings the food to the kestrels' nest.

What is their conservation status?

The conservation status of Kestrels is Least Concerned. They are the most popular birds of prey in Europe and are not considered internationally endangered, though their numbers have decreased in recent years in the United Kingdom. While the cause of their disappearance is unknown, scientists suspect it is linked to the lack of habitats. However, kestrels will adapt to human-modified habitats and can nest in wooden boxes if the boxes are the right size and placed in the right places. For their conservation, nest boxes for American Kestrels are popular nowadays where you put a nest outside and the pair of birds will come and mate in the nest during the breeding season. This helps in the conservation of the bird and saves them from prey.

Kestrel Bird Fun Facts

What do Kestrels look like?

Kestrel Bird

Kestrels have a head-to-tail length of 11.8 - 14.1 in (30 – 36 cm) and a wingspan of 22 in (56 cm). The average adult male weighs 155 grams (5.5 ounces), while the average adult female weighs 184 grams (6.5 ounces) and therefore females are significantly bigger in size. The Kestrel is a raptor of small size with a chestnut brown color. The male Kestrel has a bluish-grey tint over the top of its wings with black-spotted chestnut-brown upper parts of its head.  The American kestrel has stark color dimorphism in contrast to other falcons in the United States, with the male having vivid, colored plumage. The female kestrel is darker in shade and has black barring on the tail and wings. Their tail has black bars running the length of it. In comparison to the male, the female's underparts are more deeply streaked in black. Their head and tail can be tinged with grey on occasion. Female kestrels and baby kestrels have a similar look.

How cute are they?

Kestrel birds are quite cute because of their bright plumage and small size and can easily be identified because of their unique color.

How do they communicate?

Common kestrels are birds of prey who communicate mainly by sight and sound. Many of these interactions are restricted to the breeding season owing to their solitary nature. When the young kestrels are endangered, a member of the pair emits a 'kee-kee-kee' warning signal.

How big is a Kestrel?

Kestrels are 11.8 - 14.1 in(30 – 36 cm) which is almost the size of a chestnut sparrow.

How fast can a Kestrel fly?

American Kestrels can attain speeds of up to 39 miles per hour.

How much does a Kestrel weigh?

Adults weigh between 150 and 190 grams, with females being significantly heavier than males.

What are their male and female names of the species?

Like any other raptors, male kestrel birds are called tercel, and females are called falcon.

What would you call a baby Kestrel?

There is no significant name for a baby Kestrel.

What do they eat?

Kestrels often prey on small mammals like voles, shrews, rodents that are found on the ground, and sometimes larger birds like starlings. Kestrels, on the other hand, are adaptable birds that can consume insects, earthworms, grasshoppers, and even snails. Kestrels can see ultra-violet light in addition to possessing excellent eyesight which is quite useful because voles leave a trace of urine everywhere they go, which glows under ultra-violet light and can be used to find them. Kestrels hunt by flying 10 to 20 meters off the ground and diving towards their prey on the ground.

Are they dangerous?

Kestrels are a predatory species but they do not cause any harm to humans so no, they are not dangerous for us.

Would they make a good pet?

Yes, Kestrels often can be kept as pets but they are wild animals and we should not snatch them from their natural habitat. So it's better to not pet them.

Did you know...

Kestrels in the United States often prey in groups. This helps the young ones to learn hunting skills with their parents before having to fend for themselves. To save food for lean times or to conceal it from predators, kestrels hide excess kills in tree roots, vines, fence posts, tree branches, and cavities. Also, female and male American kestrels (Falco sparverius) use separate environments in the winter in certain southern ranges. Males prefer areas with more vegetation, while females prefer open spaces because the females tend to be migrating south first and forming winter territories, leaving males in the forests.

The Kestrel's survival techniques

Since they lack the ability to dig their own holes, American kestrels nest in cavities. The male looks for potential cavities for a nest and shows ideal ones to the female when he has selected them, and she takes the final decision. Nesting sites are usually located in trees near wooded margins or in the center of open land. Nest boxes are readily accepted by American kestrels so to attract a breeding pair, try building a kestrels nest box ahead of the breeding season. Predators won't be able to raid the eggs from them if they put up a guard.

How to draw a kestrel bird?

Starting with a round curve for the head and a small point for the beak, Kestrel bird images may be drawn. Build a large circle around the eye and a few sharp lines for the bottom of the head. Draw some zigzag lines across the eyes, ears, and a few short lines in the beak to add some shapes to the profile. Add a long curve down the front of the body for the body. Make a thin line down the back of the ear. Make an oval shape for the first wing and attach a few feathery wings at the end. Bring several lines down to a point to build the lower wings. The tail is the final stage. Extend two lines with pointed ends. To add detail to the tail, add a few more curved lines.

Here at Kidadl, we have carefully created lots of interesting family-friendly animal facts for everyone to discover! Learn more about some other birds including the secretary bird and the crowned eagle.

You can even occupy yourself at home by drawing one on our American kestrel coloring pages.

Written By
Moumita Dutta

Moumita is a multilingual content writer and editor. She has a PostGraduate Diploma in sports management, which enhanced her sports journalism skills, as well as a degree in journalism and mass communication. She's good at writing about sports and sporting heroes. Moumita has worked with many soccer teams and produced match reports, and sports is her primary passion.

Read The Disclaimer

Was this article helpful?