Black-shouldered Kite

Elanus axillaris

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DESCRIPTION

Adult: Pale grey plumage on wings with black markings on shoulders, pure white head, body and tail and red eyes. Black markings at front of eyes which extends over and to rear of eye. Cere and legs are a bright yellow.

Juvenile: Deep buff head and upper breast, back and wings mottled buff or brown with prominent white tips. Brown eyes. Becomes progressively whiter.

The Black-shouldered Kite is found throughout Australia and is common in coastal areas but scarce in semi-arid and arid regions. 

The Black-shouldered Kite hovers in mid air when hunting for food, and eats mice, lizards, insects, etc. 

It can be seen alone or in pairs and even family groups.

It breeds mainly in spring, but any time when food is abundant, such as during mouse plagues. 

The kite nest is small and compact, often made of eucalypt or pine leaves and it lays 3 to 4 eggs, but can have between 2 and 4 successive broods. Incubation is about 30 days, by the female.  The young fledge in 5 weeks.


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