Black-shouldered Kite

Common name
Black-shouldered Kite
Scientific name
Elanus axillaris
Size – beak to tail
33 – 38 cm
Wing span
to 90 cm
Birds of the Bluff
Page 12
Where to find
Croplands, grasslands and above the Bluff.
The Black-shouldered Kite is an elegant small bird of prey with white plumage and a grey back. As the name of the bird implies the adult has a dark shoulder patch. It also has dark red eyes. Young birds  have a reddish brown wash on the head, breast and back and also brownish-orange eyes.

Black-shouldered Kites are not common, but sometimes they are seen hunting around the Bluff or along the dune area, often hovering in a stationary position waiting to spot any movement below.  They feed on small rodents, reptiles and insects. They have a direct flight with quick shallow wing beats interspersed with glides on upswept wings. They prefer to hunt through the day, often hovering with wings held upright in a V-shape, before dropping down and grabbing their prey.