Raptor Population Index

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Species Assessment:
American Kestrel (Falco sparverius)

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Seventy-four percent of American Kestrel migration counts across North America suggest stable populations between 2009 and 2019, with 22% declining, and 4% (three of 76 sites) increasing. The majority of sites that reported kestrel declines are Eastern sites, but migrant kestrels also declined at three sites in the West and two in the Central Region. Increased counts were only recorded at sites in the East (see pie charts and trend maps below). This stabilizing trend appears to be a recent occurrence, given widespread concern about this species based on past declines observed in migration count trends and Breeding Bird Survey results.

Migration count results from 1999-2019 and 1989-2009 indicate much broader declines, with 59% of 37 sites and 17 sites declining, respectively (Central Region: 2 decrease; East Region: 9 stable, 16 decrease; Gulf Region: 4 stable, 1 decrease; West Region: 4 decrease, 2 stable). Winter survey data from the Christmas Bird Count (CBC) also show stable 10-year trends continent-wide with the annual percent change in population reported to be only 0.1%. While these recent results may suggest a bit of good news for current American Kestrel populations, there are many ongoing research efforts to understand the cause for widespread long-term declines in this species. The American Kestrel is listed as a species of Least Concern globally by the IUCN Red List but is listed as threatened in the state of Florida. Pesticides and other environmental contaminants, along with habitat loss and other predators are some proposed major threats to the species.

American Kestrel<br>Photo by David Brandes

Photo by David Brandes

Please cite this page as:
    D. Oleyar, D. Ethier, L. Goodrich, D. Brandes, R. Smith, J. Brown, and J. Sodergren. 2021. The Raptor Population Index: 2019 Analyses and Assessments.