Black-shouldered Kite redirects here. For the species Elanus caeruleus, see Black-winged Kite
Alternative Name: Australian Kite
- Elanus axillaris
35 to 38 cm in length and have a wingspan of between 80 and 95 cm.
Adult Black-shouldered Kites are pale grey with a white head and white underparts. The leading edge of the inner wing is black which is visible when perched and the reason for their name.
Present species is endemic to Australia.
This taxon has been split from Elanus caeruleus (of Africa and Eurasia) which is called Black-winged Kite in Opus. One additional species from the same complex is White-tailed Kite (Elanus leucurus). However, several taxonomic authorities still use the name Black-shouldered Kite for Elanus caeruleus, and Australian Kite for the present species. There is therefore a lot of confusion in the naming of these species.
Open woodland and grasslands; coastal sand dunes and salt marshes. Gardens, roadsides, sewage farms; overgrown scrub land
The diet consists mostly of mice. Grasshoppers, rats, small reptiles, and birds, are also taken.
- Clements, JF. 2009. The Clements Checklist of Birds of the World. 6th ed., with updates to December 2009. Ithaca: Cornell Univ. Press. ISBN 978-0801445019.
- BF Member Observations
- BirdForum Opus contributors. (2021) Black-shouldered Kite. In: BirdForum, the forum for wild birds and birding. Retrieved 17 January 2021 from https://www.birdforum.net/wiki/Black-shouldered_Kite