Black Shouldered Kite

Black Shouldered Kite

(Elanus axillaris)

Size(30-33cm):This species of Kite is just a bit bigger than the Shikra.

Area: All India till 1600m in outer Himalayas.

Habitat: Usually grassy countryside, mild forests, cultivated farmlands and open scrubs.

My two words:Black Shouldered Kite has a grey-white plumage. It has blood-red eyes with black markings over them. As the name tells, it has a black markings on shoulders which can be seen clearly both during flight and at rest.

They have yellow nostrils, ceres, legs and talons and a black hooked bill.

Solitary or in pairs. Except for small birds, its diet is same as that of the Shikra-squirrels, rodents, and small reptiles. Mostly hunts on wing. Usually hovering over cultivated fields and scrub with ready legs in search of food. Its iconic dive is worth watching.

Pairs breed between August and January. They lay 3-4 eggs which take a month of incubation. Chicks become fully-grown 30-35 days after leaving the nest and can even hunt for themselves within a week after leaving their nest.

Overall this bird is pretty smart.

~Arjun Basandrai

2 responses to “Black Shouldered Kite”

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