Black-winged Kite

Elanus caeruleus

Summary 4

The Black- shouldered Kite (also known as the white tailed kite) (Elanus caeruleus) has long, narrow, pointed gray wings a long white tail and gray back with white underside. They have a black spot on inner portion of wings and red eyes. These birds are probably most noticed when hovering over prey. They have the ability to hold a stationary position in the air without flapping by facing into the wind.

You can hear examples of their sounds here:

Where on campus? 5

Black Winged Kites are seen hunting on campus, usually hovering over grassy areas along Perimeter Road.

Habitat 5

Oak savanna, grassland, riparian woodland, coastal marshes.

Life History 5

Nesting Nest in trees in nests made by both or the female along of twigs. They produce one brood./year. Young are semialtricial.

Feeding Black-winged kites often hover while hunting in grasslands. They have a broad diet, mainly consisting of small rodents, but it will also take birds, lizards, snakes and frogs from the ground, and will catch bats and large insects while in flight (EOL)

Distribution 5

Found on the West Coast and Gulf Coast of the United States to Central America and eastern South America.

Migration 5

Although some populations fluctuate regularly in size, it is unknown whether the White-tailed Kite is migratory, nomadic, or both. (

Sources and Credits

  1. (c) Tarique Sani, some rights reserved (CC BY-NC-SA),
  2. (c) Srikaanth Sekar, some rights reserved (CC BY),
  3. (c) Lip Kee, some rights reserved (CC BY-SA),
  4. Adapted by gillian360 from a work by (c) Wildscreen, some rights reserved (CC BY-NC-SA),
  5. (c) gillian360, some rights reserved (CC BY-SA)

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