Scientific Name: Elanus caeruleus
Name: Black-winged Kite
Black-winged Kite is grey and white with black shoulders and red eyes.
Size in cm:
Upperparts are bluish-grey. Black wings coverts form a black shoulder patch. Central tail feathers are bluish-grey and outer tail feathers are white. It has long pointed wings and rounded tail.
Underparts are white. Outer primaries are black. Head is white, with a small black mask around the eye. Bill is rather short, with hooked upper mandible. Bill is black with yellow cere. Eyes are dark red. Short bare legs and feet are yellow. Both sexes are similar.
Juvenile resembles adult, with rather sooty-grey shoulders, and reddish-brown wash on head and breast, and fine brown streaks on lower breast. Eyes are pale brown to brownish-orange.
Size in Inch
black (Bird may have more colors)
Black-winged Kite feeds mainly on mammals as small rats. It also eats small ground birds and large insects such as grasshoppers and locusts. On Arabian coast, it feeds dead fish, lizards and offal.
Habit and habited:
Black-winged Kite breeds in savannahs, semi-desert grasslands, steppes and cultivated plains with thickets. In dry areas, it needs the vicinity of the water. It may be found from sea level to 2700 metres of elevation. Hunts by quartering open ground, hovering at intervals with wings hel high over back and beaten rather slowly. Grassland interspersed with cultivation or with scattered trees, and scrub desert.
Black-winged Kite is usually silent, but it may utter some sounds, such as varied weak whistling calls: a melodious weepweep; a wailing whistle at nest; a piii-uu during displays; alarm calls are double whistles plee-wit, plee-wit. Other aspirated lower sounds may be heard. If it attacks other birds, it gives series of shrill whistles.
Birds of Prey
The black-winged kite (Elanus caeruleus), also known as the black-shouldered kite (not to be confused with the closely related Australian species with the same name), is a small diurnal bird of prey in the family Accipitridae best known for its habit of hovering over open grasslands in the manner of the much smaller kestrels.
The black-winged kite is a small bird, the female is slightly larger than the male. The male kite measures, 30 to 35 cm in length and weighs 200 to 270 grams. The female weighs 220 to 340 grams. The wingspan is 75 to 90 cm.
The kite has white, grey and blackish velvety plumage and owl like forward-facing eyes with orange red irises. The wings are long and the bird is predominantly greyish white. There is blackish shoulder patches, wing tips and eye stripe.
Black-winged Kite perches on exposed places from which it hunts small rodents, birds, reptiles and large insects. It may hunt from a perch, but often by hovering in mid-air with skill and little effort. When a prey is selected, it drops silently onto it, feet-first, with wings in high V. It may perform some hovering pauses at intermediate heights, before to drop to ground level. Small preys are eaten while flying, and larger preys are brought to a branch or a rock. They usually hunt at dusk.
Courtship displays include fluttering flights while giving high, rasping calls, or wailing sounds. It may continue these flight displays by gliding to a future nest-site in a tree.
It roosts in trees, often in large flocks of up to 500 birds. Pairs remain together for most of the year, and remain usually relatively close to each other. Their range depends of food resources. Both mates circle very high above their territory. We can also see nuptial chasing and mutual soaring.
When perched, Black-winged Kite raises and lowers the tail very often. Maybe it is a form of display, but also when excited. It is the pre-copulation display.
Both parents are aggressive if an intruder disturbs the nest, and they strongly attack raptors and crows passing near by.