Swallow-tailed Kite

I was very delighted to photograph this beautiful bird in Florida. My only chance to shoot was handheld 500mm lens. This bird was flying very high, using the thermals for gliding, looking for preys. The Swallow-tailed Kite is now listed # 208 on my lifers list. Let’s take a look at more information about this gorgeous bird:

The Swallow-tailed Kite (Elanoides forficatus) is an elanid kite which breeds from the southeastern United States to eastern Peru and northern Argentina. Most North and Central American breeders winter in South America where the species is resident year round. It was formerly named Falco forficatus.

Swallow-tailed Kite

Swallow-tailed Kite

Swallow-tailed kites inhabit mostly woodland and forested wetlands near nesting locations. Nests are built in trees, usually near water. Both male and female participate in building the nest.

The swallow-tailed kite feeds on small reptiles, such as snakes and lizards. It may also feed on small amphibians such as frogs; large insects, such as grasshoppers, crickets; small birds and eggs; and small mammals including bats. It has been observed to regularly consume fruit in Central America. It drinks by skimming the surface and collecting water in its beak. (Info- Wikipedia)

Scientific classification
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Aves
Order: Accipitriformes
Family: Accipitridae
Subfamily: Elaninae
Genus: Elanoides
Vieillot, 1818
Species: E. forficatus
Binomial name
Elanoides forficatus
(Linnaeus, 1758)

Photo Gallery


© HJ Ruiz – Avian101

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14 thoughts on “Swallow-tailed Kite

  1. How fortunate that you captured the swallow-tailed kite, HJ. We don’t get too many chances in the U.S. to see them. Great that you were able to highlight the kite’s swallow tail.

    • For a couple of minutes I saw this bird flying very high in wide circular manner and I almost dismissed it as a bad as a “bad shot” since the sun was almost perpendicular to the ground (tactic for predators to conceal their presence in the sky with the sun behind) I waited for a short while, that’s when I saw the bifurcated tail. I decided to wait, it paid off!… when it descended to a lower elevation I was elated by my find! I immediately knew it was a Kite. At over 100ºF at open air and facing the sun…I call it real cool event that it is worth it a great memory! I’m sure you’ve lived moments like that some time or another Haven’t you? Thank you Jet! 🙂

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