• East view from Crissy Field overlook with old Coast Guard station on left and city on right

    Presidio of San Francisco

    California

American Kestrel

(Falco sparverius)
 
American Kestrel
An American kestrel looks for prey near Inspiration Point.
Will Elder, NPS
 

Natural History: The predatory nature of the American Kestrel is to pounce on its prey of small mammals, birds, insects, amphibians, and reptiles rather than pursuing them. It often hovers while beating its wings. It tends to forage in open areas. It nests in cavities in trees, snags, cliffs, and buildings near to its foraging areas. Breeding season runs from April to August. The kestrel is also know as the sparrow hawk.

General Distribution: In the Presidio, this bird is found in forests where it breeds.

Frequency: This species is common in the Presidio during the fall, winter, and spring months.

Identifying Characteristics: This bird has the appearance of a small swallow-like falcon with a reddish back/tail. It often appears with a black and white face pattern.

Presidio Birds main page

Did You Know?

Franciscan monk

In 1776, Father Pedro Font wrote, "The port of San Francisco...is a marvel of nature, and might well be called a harbor of harbors...And I think if it could be well settled like Europe there would not be anything more beautiful in all the world."