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35â€“43 cm (13Â¾-17 in)
 Similar Species
In North America breeds in southern California and Texas but increasing and expanding range with breeding north to Oregon and along the Gulf Coast to Florida. In Mexico breeds in southern Baja California and on the east coast from Tamaulipas to the Yucatan Peninsula.
A recent colonist elsewhere in Central America with first breeding in Panama taking place in the 1970s.
The new world form of the Elanus complex which is comprised of White-tailed Kite (Elanus leucurus), Black-winged Kite (Elanus caeruleus), and Black-shouldered Kite (Elanus axillaris). These three species were until recently considered one species which was then called Black-shouldered Kite (Elanus caeruleus).
Two subspecies recognised:
Open woodland and grasslands with scattered trees, often near rivers and lakes.
Outside the breeding season they roost communally in groups of up to 100.
The diet consists mostly of rodents such as mice and voles, with the addition of other small mammals; they will also occasionally hunt birds, reptiles, and amphibians.
They construct a platform from sticks and place it in the fork of a tree or bush. The clutch consists of 3-5 eggs which are incubated for 30 - 32 days. The young fledge at 5 - 6 weeks.
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