White-tailed Kite

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.

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Details & Statistics

Added to Birdorable
Hatched on 22 May 2012
Scientific Name
Elanus leucurus
  • Accipitriformes
  • Accipitridae
  • Elanus
  • E. leucurus
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
12.6 to 15 inches
300 to 360 ounces


International Names

Brazilian (Português brasileiro) Gavião-peneira
Czech (Cesky) luněc americký
Danish (Dansk) Hvidhalet Glente
Dutch (Nederlands) Amerikaanse Grijze Wouw
Finnish (Suomi) amerikanliitohaukka
French (Français) Élanion à queue blanche
German (Deutsch) Weißschwanzaar
Italian (Italiano) Nibbio codabianca
Japanese (日本語) オジロトビ [ojirotobi]
Norwegian (Norsk) Hvithaleglente
Polish (Polski) kaniuk amerykanski
Russian (русский язык) Белохвостый дымчатый коршун
Spanish (Español) Elanio Maromero
Swedish (Svenska) Vitstjärtad glada
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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