American Kestrels are widely distributed across the Americas. Their breeding range extends from central and western Alaska across northern Canada to Nova Scotia, and south throughout North America, into central Mexico, the Baja, and the Caribbean. They are local breeders in Central America and are widely distributed throughout South America.
Most of the birds breeding in Canada and the northern United States migrate south in the winter, although some males stay as year-round residents. It is a very rare vagrant to western Europe.
The American Kestrel is the smallest falcon in North America about the size of an American Robin. Like all raptors, the American Kestrel is sexually dimorphic, although there is some overlap within the species. The female ranges in length from 23 to 28 centimeters (9-11 inches) with a wingspan of 53-61 centimeters (21-24 inches) and weighs an average of 120 grams (4.2 ounces). The length of the male varies between 20-25 centimeters (8-10 inches) with a wingspan ranging from 51-56 centimeters (20-22 inches) and weighing an average of 111 grams (3.9 ounces). These subtle differences are often difficult to discern in the field.
Male American Kestrel upperside patternThe coloration of the feathers, however, greatly varies between the sexes.