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Black Kite | Milvus migrans

The Black 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 Kite (Latin name Milvus migrans) can be found in the 7th Edition of the Roberts Birds of Southern Africa. The Milvus migrans can be quickly identified by its unique Roberts identification number of 126 and the detailed description of this bird is on page 479. You will find a picture of the Black Kite on page 480.

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.

The Latin name for this bird is Milvus [migrans] migrans in the Roberts 6th Edition.

The Black Kite is known in Afrikaans as Geelbekwou.

The Black Kite has a height of 55 cms and weighs around 450 gms. The head is coloured brown while the bill is coloured black. The Milvus migrans has a grey coloured throat, yellow legs and a brown, black coloured back. The eyes are grey.

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 brown

Eyes are grey

Bill is black

Legs are yellow

Throat is grey

Back is brown, black

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 Kite uses its hard bill to tear up the flesh.

This bird eats insects such as butterflies, bees, wasps, locusts and ants. These invertebrates are usually hawked aerially, killed and then eaten .

Breeding, Habitat and Nesting Habits ...

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

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

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

The bird is an urban dweller as well, being at home in parks, gardens and in old vacated buildings

Seen in Flocks, Singles or Pairs Normally ...

The Black 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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