(Milvus migrans)

FUN FACT

Black Kites eat "on the wing," catching smaller prey out of the air with their talons and bringing the food directly to their mouths without slowing down.

The black kite is a medium-sized, primarily brown raptor.  Kites are characterized by their long wings and tails, buoyant acrobatic flight, and ability to catch food in mid-air.  Black kites are widespread and adaptable and can be found throughout portions of Africa, Europe, and Australasia.  They eat small mammals, other birds, carrion, insects, and have even been seen feeding on garbage at the dump in New Delhi, India.  Their most notable trait is the ability to catch and eat prey while still in flight and have been observed catching large insects fleeing from wildfires.  Unlike most raptors, they are a fairly social and gregarious species and often gather in large flocks to roost and feed.

Distribution

Widely distributed throughout the Old World

Habitat

Highly adaptable - can be seen in grasslands, forests, riparian areas, suburbs and even larger cities.

Diet

Small animals, insects, carrion, and human refuse.

Breeding

Black kites often nest in loose colonies and in areas where nesting sites are at a premium, black kites have been observed nesting only a few feet from one another. Nests are generally built in trees, cliffs, or building ledges, and consist primarily of sticks and twigs. Black kites typically lay 2-3 eggs which are incubated by the female for approximately 30 days. After hatching, the young birds remain in the nest for an additional 6-8 weeks, and become independent roughly 3 weeks after fledging.

Status

Not Under Threat (Least Concern)

At the Aviary

See the black kites on SkyDeck during special presentations only. These birds are not currently on exhibit.