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
    Measurements
    • 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.