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6

Black Kite

(Milvus migrans)
German name(s): "Schwarzer Milan", "Schwarzmilan"
Size: 50-55 cm (male), 55-60 cm (female); wing span 1.6-1.8 m
Weight: 600-930 g

Similar species

Description     Classification     Distribution     Sightings     Photos     Breeding     Nest     Eggs     Behaviour     Food     Call/s

Physical description

Click here for a physical description

Taxonomy, classification

See Black Kite at Wikipedia .

Range, habitat, finding this species

Click here for information on habitat and range

Sightings

Click here for sighting information

Photos

Race "migrans"

This race is also called the "European Black Kite".

ADULT

Sex unknown

Lateral view of a Black Kite (photo courtesy of J. Pires)
[Mora, Evora, Portugal, July 2019]

Lateral/ventral view of a Black Kite perched in a tree (photo courtesy of H. Dahlem-Senger)
[Near Schierstein, Hessen, Germany, April 2017]

Lateral view of a Black Kite with an itch (photo courtesy of J. Pires)
[Mora, Evora, Portugal, April 2014]

Lateral view of a Black Kite on the ground (photo courtesy of J. Pires)
[Mora, Evora, Portugal, May 2018]

Near-dorsal view of a Black Kite (photo courtesy of J. Pires)
[Mora, Evora, Portugal, May 2018]

Frontal view of a Black Kite in flight (photo courtesy of J. Pires)
[Mora, Evora, Portugal, July 2015]

Near-frontal view of a soaring Black Kite (photo courtesy of H. Dahlem-Senger)
[Near Schierstein, Hessen, Germany, April 2017]

Near-frontal/ventral view of a Black Kite in flight (photo courtesy of J. Pires)
[Evora, Evora, Portugal, April 2020]

Near-lateral view of a Black Kite in flight (photo courtesy of J. Pires)
[Mora, Evora, Portugal, July 2015]

Near-lateral view onto the upperparts of a Black Kite in flight (photo courtesy of J. Pires)
[Mora, Evora, Portugal, April 2015]

Near-lateral/ventral view of a Black Kite in flight (photo courtesy of J. Pires)
[Mora, Evora, Portugal, June 2019]

Near-lateral/ventral view of a Black Kite in flight; note the - compared to a Red Kite - relatively short, broad tail
(photo courtesy of J. Pires)
[Evora, Evora, Portugal, March 2018]

Lateral view of a Black Kite in flight, wings up (photo courtesy of J. Pires)
[Tejo estuary, Portugal, April 2017]

Lateral view of a Black Kite in flight, wings down (photo courtesy of J. Pires)
[Tejo estuary, Portugal, April 2017]

Lateral view of a Black Kite in flight, actively using its tail as a rudder (photo courtesy of J. Pires)
[Mora, Evora, Portugal, February 2019]

Lateral/ventral view of a Black Kite in flight (photo courtesy of J. Pires)
[Mora, Evora, Portugal, April 2019]

Ventral view of a Black Kite in flight (photo courtesy of J. Pires)
[Evora, Evora, Portugal, July 2015]

Direct comparison between a Black Kite, left, and a Red Kite, right; we have attempted to show the birds in the same posture, on the same scale - click on either photo to view a larger version (photos courtesy of J. Pires)
[Mora, Evora, Portugal, June 2015]

Pair of Black Kites in nuptial flight(?) (photo courtesy of J. Pires)
[Mora, Evora, Portugal, April 2019]

Pair of Black Kites in nuptial flight(?) (photo courtesy of J. Pires)
[Mora, Evora, Portugal, April 2019]

Distant lateral view of a Black Kite carrying nesting material (photo courtesy of J. Pires)
[Sado estuary, Setubal, Portugal, March 2019]

IMMATURE/JUVENILE

Near-dorsal view onto the upperparts of a juvenile Black Kite in flight; note the pale tips of the wing feathers
(photo courtesy of J. Pires)
[Sagres, Algarve, Portugal, October 2019]

Ventral view of a juvenile Black Kite in flight; this bird may have a foot entangled in a piece of fishing line
(photo courtesy of J. Pires)
[Evora, Evora, Portugal, March 2018]

Race "affinis"

This race is also called the "Fork-tailed Kite".

Photos of Black Kites, race "affinis", were obtained in Australia.

Breeding information

Breeding season: Apr - Aug? Eggs: 2 - 3 Incubation period: ca. 35 days Fledging age: ca. 40 days

Nest

Type: Basket Material: Sticks; leaves, grass, bark, wool lining Height above ground: 10 - 20(?) m

Black Kite aery in a cork oak; this nest, originally built by Cattle Egrets, was later re-used by a pair of Common Ravens, before coming into use by its present owners (photo courtesy of J. Pires)
[Evora, Evora, Portugal, April 2020]

Wider overview of a Black Kite aery in a cork oak (photo courtesy of J. Pires)
[Evora, Evora, Portugal, April 2020]

Black Kite circling above its aery (photo courtesy of J. Pires)
[Evora, Evora, Portugal, April 2020]

Eggs

Size: 52 x 42 mm Colour: Creamy, with light- to mid-brown speckles Shape: Tapered oval

Food, Diet

All raptors are carnivores. Black Kites mainly feed on carrion. They are often found around rubbish tips. They are also the first species to arrive after a stubble burn, to pick off the remains of small animals killed by fire.

Black Kite carrying away its prey; the long, dangling leg suggests that it has caught some kind of waterfowl
(photo courtesy of J. Pires)
[Mora, Evora, Portugal, April 2015]

Black Kite carrying away its prey (photo courtesy of J. Pires)
[Peso dam, near Montemor o Novo, Evora, Portugal, July 2019]

Call(s)/Song

For this species we have recorded the following call(s)/song. The interpretation of their meaning is our own; comments and suggestions for improvement are welcome.

blkite_20140820.m4a affinis
(Darwin, NT)
? + contact call © MD
blkite_20140820_3.m4a affinis
(Darwin, NT)
? © MD

These pages are largely based on our own observations and those of our contributors. The structure of these bird pages is explained HERE. For more salient facts on any bird species please refer to a field guide.

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