Black-shouldered Kite {Elanus axillaris}

A common, grey and white raptor with a black shoulder. The upper parts are bluish grey, with black wing coverts which appear as a distinctive, black shoulder patch. The under parts are white. There is a small black mask around the eye.
Young birds have a reddish-brown wash on the head and breast and the feathers of the upper parts are tipped white. The bill is short with a sharp, hooked tip to the upper mandible.
The bill is black, while the feet and legs, and the cere (skin at the base of the bill) are bright yellow. The eye is dark red in adult black-shouldered kites and brownish-orange in immature birds.


Habitat: Although found in timbered country, they are mainly birds of the grasslands.
Size: Length: 35 to 38 cm Wingspan: Between 80 and 95 cm.
Diet Description: Insects, rodents and small birds.
Socialisation: Able to hunt by hovering on upturned wings about 50 meters above the ground. When prey is sighted, the kite "parachutes" gracefully straight down into the grass. Black-shouldered Kites are highly nomadic – moving about in search of prey.

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