Xena the American Kestrel

  • Hatched: Spring of 2017
  • Arrived at Bird Alliance of Oregon: June 2017
  • Sex: Female

Xena was found in June 2017 in Vancouver, Washington. When she was brought to the Wildlife Care Center, she had a broken wing and a broken leg. We are unsure what caused her injuries. While her broken bones have healed, Xena is not able to fly well enough to survive in the wild and cannot be released.

About American Kestrels

Scientific name: Falco sparverius

American Kestrels are the smallest falcons in North America. While most male and female raptors look the same (just differing in size), the male and female American Kestrels look different. The males have slate blue wings and black spots on the chest and wings, while the females are a rusty color on their wings, with brown streaks on the chest.


The American Kestrel is listed as a species of “least concern” on the International Union for Conservation of Nature’s Red List.

  • Habitat: Marshes, agricultural flats, broken woodlands, urban areas.
  • Field Marks: Blue-gray wings, black spots. Streaked rufous tail, dark eye stain marks.
  • Songs & Calls: Rarely vocal away from nest, calls include series of twi notes.

Fun Facts:

  • American Kestrels don’t build their own nests. Instead they use old nests made by other birds, ledges or cavities (holes) in trees.
  • When on the hunt, American Kestrels perch on wires or poles, scanning for insects and other small prey below. When prey is spotted, Kestrels pounce, seizing it with one or both feet.
  • Size & Shape: 11″, wingspan 23″. Compact, swift-flying, small falcon
  • Expected lifespan: 8-10 years in wild; 10-13 in captivity
  • Color: Wings blue-gray with black spots. Tail rufous on back with a broad black band and white or rufous tip. Heavily streaked below with plain, dark back, vague mustache mark. Appears dark in flight with sharply pointed wings.
  • Behavior: Makes dashing flight from perch, captures prey with talons at blinding speed. Diet almost exclusively small songbirds, shorebirds. Rarely soars; typical flight observation bullet-like pass. More likely spotted perched atop prominent snags, conifers, cables and power lines. Aggressively harasses raptors many times its size.
  • Diet: Prey consists mostly of small rodents, reptiles, insects and an occasional small bird, hence the common name of “Sparrowhawk.” American Kestrels have been photographed killing prey as large as a wood rat!