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White-tailed Kite

White-tailed Tropicbird
White-tailed Hawk

About the White-tailed Kite

Also known as: Black-shouldered Hawk, Black-shouldered Kite

The White-tailed Kite is a species of raptor that lives in parts of the Americas, including the west coast of the United States, through much of Central America, the southern part of Florida, and large parts of South America.

White-tailed Kites roost communally outside of the breeding season, forming flocks of 100 or more individual birds.

White-tailed Kites perform an amazing aerial display during courtship. Male birds offer gifts of prey to the female, who accepts the gift in flight. The male will hover while the female flies up to retrieve the prey by flipping upside-down mid-air and grabbing the food item in her powerful talons.

Details & Stats

Hatched Added to Birdorable on: 22 May 2012
Scientific Name Elanus leucurus
  • Accipitriformes
  • Accipitridae
  • Elanus
  • E. leucurus
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 September 2017)
Units: Imperial Metric
12.6 to 15 inches
300 to 360 ounces
Range North America Central America Caribbean South America United States (West) United States (East)

International Names

  • Gavião-peneira (Brazilian)
  • luněc americký (Czech)
  • Hvidhalet Glente (Danish)
  • Amerikaanse Grijze Wouw (Dutch)
  • amerikanliitohaukka (Finnish)
  • Élanion à queue blanche (French)
  • Weißschwanzaar (German)
  • Nibbio codabianca (Italian)
  • オジロトビ [ojirotobi] (Japanese)
  • Hvithaleglente (Norwegian)
  • kaniuk amerykanski (Polish)
  • Белохвостый дымчатый коршун (Russian)
  • Elanio Maromero (Spanish)
  • Vitstjärtad glada (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