Swallow-tailed Kite

About the Swallow-tailed Kite
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.

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Details & Statistics


The Swallow-tailed Kite is listed as Least Concern on the IUCN Red List and was last assessed in 2012 by BirdLife International. This species has an extremely large range, and hence does not approach the thresholds for Vulnerable under the range size criterion (Extent of Occurrence <20,000 km2 combined with a declining or fluctuating range size, habitat extent/quality, or population size and a small number of locations or severe fragmentation). Despite the fact that the population trend appears to be decreasing, the decline is not believed to be sufficiently rapid to approach the thresholds for Vulnerable under the population trend criterion (>30% decline over ten years or three generations). The population size is very large, and hence does not approach the thresholds for Vulnerable under the population size criterion (<10,000 mature individuals with a continuing decline estimated to be >10% in ten years or three generations, or with a specified population structure). For these reasons the species is evaluated as Least Concern.

International Names

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