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Black-shouldered Kite | Elanus caeruleus

The Black-shouldered Kite is a Southern African bird that belongs to the Accipitridae bird family group which includes birds such as Raptors, Old Vultures, Osprey.

The description for the Black-shouldered Kite (Latin name Elanus caeruleus) can be found in the 7th Edition of the Roberts Birds of Southern Africa. The Elanus caeruleus can be quickly identified by its unique Roberts identification number of 127 and the detailed description of this bird is on page 478. You will find a picture of the Black-shouldered Kite on page 433.

NOTE: The reference for the information following is "Roberts Birds of Southern Africa", 7th Edition*. This edition contained a number of taxonomic changes as well as changes to English names used traditionally and in earlier editions of most bird books in South Africa. The following paragraph notes such changes if any.

There have been no changes in the common name between the Roberts 6th and Roberts 7th Edition. There have been no changes in the Latin name for the Black-shouldered Kite between the Roberts 6th and Roberts 7th Edition

The Black-shouldered Kite is known in Afrikaans as Blouvalk.

The Black-shouldered Kite has a height of 30 cms and weighs around 240 gms. The head is coloured grey while the bill is coloured black. The Elanus caeruleus has a white coloured throat, yellow legs and a grey, white coloured back. The eyes are red.

Take note of the bird's main distinguishing features such as colour, size and leg length relative to the body size of the bird. Colours of a bird's body parts can be helpful. Be aware what may appear brown to one person is described in Roberts Birds using some other word ... for example brown, black. See colours used in Roberts.

Head is grey

Eyes are red

Bill is black

Legs are yellow

Throat is white

Back is grey, white

Feeding Habits ...

This bird forages for food on the ground

The diet includes small mammals such as rabbits, field mice and other rodents. Rodents are usually taken from the ground and killed using the sharp claws. The Black-shouldered Kite uses its hard bill to tear up the flesh.

Breeding, Habitat and Nesting Habits ...

The Black-shouldered Kite is a monogamous bird which means that the bird finds and breeds with one partner for the rest of its life. The bird lays between 2 to 6 eggs and they are coloured brown.

The nest is built high up in the tree canopy and is protected from predators by branches and the dense green foligae.

The Black-shouldered Kite is mainly found in light and densely wooded forests, where there are Mopane trees.

The bird is found in the arid and semi-arid regions of Southern Africa and it can withstand high day and night temperatures

The bird is mainly found in the Savanna grasslands where it breeds and feeds.

The bird is found in the African bushveld

This bird is very common in most of the Southern African Forests

Seen in Flocks, Singles or Pairs Normally ...

The Black-shouldered Kite is mainly seen singly or in pairs in the wild.

The reference for the information following is "Roberts Birds of Southern Africa", 7th Edition * edited by PAR Hockey, WRJ Dean and PG Ryan, published by "The Trustees of the John Voelcker Bird Book Fund."

copyright: Tony Roocroft +27-11-454-0105

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