Swallow-tailed Kite

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.

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Details & Statistics

Added to Birdorable
Hatched on 02 May 2012
Scientific Name
Elanoides forficatus
  • Accipitriformes
  • Accipitridae
  • Elanoides
  • E. forficatus
Birdorable Family
Conservation Status
Least Concern (as of 6 April 2020)
  • Least Concern (LC)
  • Near Threatened (NT)
  • Vulnerable (VU)
  • Endangered (EN)
  • Critically Endangered (CR)
  • Extinct in the Wild (EW)
  • Extinct (EX)
Source: IUCN Red List
Units: Imperial / Metric
20 to 26 inches
44 to 54 inches
11 to 21 ounces


International Names

Brazilian (Português brasileiro) Gavião-tesoura
Czech (Cesky) luňák vlaštovčí
Danish (Dansk) Svalehaleglente
Dutch (Nederlands) Zwaluwstaartwouw
Finnish (Suomi) amerikansirohaukka
French (Français) Milan à queue fourchue
German (Deutsch) Schwalbenweih
Italian (Italiano) Nibbio americano codadirondine
Japanese (日本語) ツバメトビ [tsubametobi]
Norwegian (Norsk) Svaleglente
Polish (Polski) jaskólak
Russian (русский язык) Ласточковый коршун
Spanish (Español) Elanio Tijereta
Swedish (Svenska) Svalstjärtsglada
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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