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Merlin Bird ID

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    Swallow-tailed Kite Identification

    The Four Keys to ID

    • Size & Shape

      Swallow-tailed Kites are large but slender and buoyant raptors. They have long, narrow, pointed wings, slim bodies, and a very long, deeply forked tail. The bill is small and sharply hooked.

      Relative Size

      About the same overall length but less than half as heavy as a Red-tailed Hawk.

      Relative Sizebetween crow and goosebetween crow and goose
      • Both Sexes
        • Length: 19.7-25.2 in (50-64 cm)
        • Weight: 13.1-21.2 oz (370-600 g)
        • Wingspan: 48.0 in (122 cm)

    Regional Differences

    There are two subspecies of Swallow-tailed Kite, but they look very similar and only one of them occurs in the U.S. (it is slightly larger and more purplish-black); the other subspecies is native to Central and South America.