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Swallow-tailed Kite

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About the Swallow-tailed Kite

The Swallow-tailed Kite is a medium-sized raptor that lives throughout much of South America. Some birds migrate to breeding grounds in Central America and in the Gulf states of the US.

Swallow-tailed Kites are unmistakeable in flight, with a deeply forked black tail, white body, and contrasting black and white on the wings.

Swallow-tailed Kites soar through the air, rarely flapping their wings. They often eat on the fly, taking insects in the air or grabbing lizards or snakes from treetops.

Details & Stats

Hatched Added to Birdorable on: 02 May 2012
Scientific Name Elanoides forficatus
  • Accipitriformes
  • Accipitridae
  • Elanoides
  • E. forficatus
Birdorable Family Birds of Prey
Conservation Status Least Concern
  • Least Concern (LC)
  • Near Threatened (NT)
  • Vulnerable (VU)
  • Endangered (EN)
  • Critically Endangered (CR)
  • Extinct in the Wild (EW)
  • Extinct (EX)
Source: IUCN Red List
(as of 28 July 2017)
Units: Imperial Metric
20 to 26 inches
44 to 54 inches
11 to 21 ounces
Range North America Central America Caribbean South America United States (East)

International Names

  • Gavião-tesoura (Brazilian)
  • luňák vlaštovčí (Czech)
  • Svalehaleglente (Danish)
  • Zwaluwstaartwouw (Dutch)
  • amerikansirohaukka (Finnish)
  • Milan à queue fourchue (French)
  • Schwalbenweih (German)
  • Nibbio americano codadirondine (Italian)
  • ツバメトビ [tsubametobi] (Japanese)
  • Svaleglente (Norwegian)
  • jaskólak (Polish)
  • Ласточковый коршун (Russian)
  • Elanio Tijereta (Spanish)
  • Svalstjärtsglada (Swedish)

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Facts About Kites

Facts About Kites

Here are some interesting facts about kites: Kites belong in the Accipitridae* family of birds of prey. They are divided into two subfamilies. Elaninae kites are sometimes considered to be "hovering kites" and ... more