Black Shouldered Kite

Black Shoulder Kite - Birds of Pakistan
Black Shoulder Kite – Photo by Awais Ali Sheikh

The Black-shouldered Kite (Elanus axillaris) is a small raptor. Measuring 35–38 cm (13.8–15 in) in length with a wingspan of 80–95 cm (31.5–37.4 in), the adult Black-shouldered Kite is a small and graceful, predominantly pale grey and white, raptor with black shoulders and red eyes. Their primary call is a clear whistle, uttered in flight and while hovering.

Black-shouldered Kites form monogamous pairs, breeding between August and January. The birds engage in aerial courtship displays which involve high circling flight and ritualised feeding mid-air. Three or four eggs are laid and incubated for around thirty days. Chicks are fully fledged within five weeks of hatching and can hunt for mice within a week of leaving the nest.

Black Shouldered Kite used under CC BY / Desaturated from original