The black-shouldered kite (Elanus axillaris)
A similar species found throughout Australia, Eurasia and North America. The adult black-shouldered kite is a small and graceful, predominantly pale grey and white, raptor with black shoulders and red eyes.
Like all the kites, it is a specialist predator of rodents, which it hunts singly or in pairs by hovering in mid-air above open land.
This little guy was sitting in a tree that had fallen down and finally got tired of me taking his photo and flew off…
Black-shouldered Kite (Elanus axillaris)
Black-shouldered Kites measure 35–38 cm (13.8–15 in) in length with a wingspan of 80–95 cm (31.5–37.4 in), the adult Black-shouldered Kite is a small and graceful, predominantly pale grey and white raptor, with black shoulders and red eyes. Their primary call is a clear whistle, uttered in flight and while hovering.
Black-shouldered Kites love mice and rats… and this one was enjoying his breakfast today… RAT…
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.