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White-tailed Kite

Elanus leucurus ORDER: ACCIPITRIFORMES FAMILY: ACCIPITRIDAE

IUCN Conservation Status: Least Concern

A medium-sized raptor of open grasslands and savannas, the White-tailed Kite is readily identified by its bright plumage and its habit of hovering while hunting for small mammals.

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Appearance

Hawks
Hawks
Typical Voice

Adult Description

Medium-sized hawk. Long, narrow, pointed wings. Long white tail. Gray back and wings. White face and underside. Black spot on inner portion of wings. Eyes red.

Immature Description

Juvenile similar to adult, but with buffy streaks on breast and head, gray with white-tipped (scalloped) feathers on back, and yellow eyes.

Range Map Help

White-tailed Kite Range Map
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Field MarksHelp

  • Adul

    White-tailed Kite

    Adul
  • Adult

    White-tailed Kite

    Adult
  • Juvenile

    White-tailed Kite

    Juvenile
  • Adult

    White-tailed Kite

    Adult
    • © 2004 Cornell Lab of Ornithology, Channel Islands, California, November 2000

Similar Species

Similar Species

  • White-tailed Hawk is larger and more robust, has a shorter tail with a dark band near the tip, and lacks the black spots in the wings.
  • Mississippi Kite is dull gray with a slightly rounded black tail.