Elanus is a genus of bird of prey in the elanine kite subfamily. It was introduced by the French zoologist Jules-César Savigny in 1809 with the black-winged kite as the type species; the name is from the Ancient Greek elanos for a "kite". The genus contains four species: The first three species above were considered conspecific as subspecies of Elanus caeruleus, known as the black-shouldered kite; these are white and grey raptors of open country, with a short square tail. They hunt by quartering the habitat for rodents and other small mammals and insects, sometimes hovering like a kestrel. Ferguson-Lees, Franklin and Burton Raptors of the World ISBN 0-7136-8026-1
Milvus is a genus of medium-sized birds of prey. The genus was erected by the French naturalist Bernard Germain de Lacépède in 1799. Milvus is the Latin word for the red kite; this is an Old World group consisting of three kites. Its systematics are under revision. Red kite, Milvus milvus Cape Verde kite, Milvus fasciicauda extinct Black kite, Milvus migrans Black-eared kite, Milvus lineatus Yellow-billed kite, Milvus aegyptiusAllozyme data indicates that the genetic diversity in both black and red kites is rather low. Successful hybridization between Milvus kites is commonplace, making mtDNA analyses unreliable to resolve the genus' phylogeny. Furthermore, there is no good correlation between molecular characters and biogeography and morphology in the red kite due to incomplete lineage sorting; the yellow-billed kite is a separate species, as indicated by mtDNA phylogeny showing two supported clades and morphology. The black-eared kite is somewhat distinct morphologically, but is better considered a well-marked parapatric subspecies.
The status of the Cape Verde kite is in doubt. Whatever its status, this population is extinct. A prehistoric kite from the Early Pleistocene deposits at Ubeidiya was described as Milvus pygmaeus. Crochet, Pierre-André: Recent DNA studies of kites. Birding World 18: 486-488. HTML section list
The gray-headed kite is a raptor found in open woodland and swamp forests. It shares the genus Leptodon with the rare white-collared kite, it breeds from eastern Mexico and Trinidad south to Peru, Bolivia and northern Argentina. The gray-headed kite weighs 410-605 g; the adult has a grey head, black upperparts, white underparts, a black tail with two or three white bars. The bill is blue and the legs grey; the flight is a deliberate flap-flap-glide. Immature birds have two colour morphs; the dark phase has a blackish head and upperparts, dark-streaked buff underparts. The gray-headed kite feeds on reptiles, but takes frogs and large insects, it sits on an open high perch from which it swoops on its prey. The call is a mewling keow; the nest is built high in a tree. The clutch purplish at one end and spotted brown. Ffrench, Richard. A Guide to the Birds of Trinidad and Tobago. Comstock Publishing. ISBN 0-8014-9792-2. Hilty, Steven L. Birds of Venezuela. London: Christopher Helm. ISBN 0-7136-6418-5. A guide to the birds of Costa Rica by Stiles and Skutch ISBN 0-8014-9600-4
The white-tailed kite is a small raptor found in western North America and parts of South America. The white-tailed kite was described in 1818 by the French ornithologist Louis Jean Pierre Vieillot under the binomial name Milvus leucurus with the type locality as Paraguay, it is now one of four species in the genus Elanus, introduced in 1809 by the French zoologist Jules-César Savigny. The word Elanus is from Ancient Greek elanos for a "kite"; the specific epithet leucurus is from the Ancient Greek leucouros for "white-tailed": leucos is "white" and oura is "tail". For some recent decades, it was lumped with the black-winged kite of Europe and Africa as Elanus caeruleus and was collectively called black-shouldered kite. More it was argued that the white-tailed kite differed from the Old World species in size, shape and behavior, that these differences were sufficient to warrant full species status; this argument was accepted by the American Ornithologists' Union, so the white-tailed kite was returned to its original name.
Meanwhile, the Old World E. caeruleus is once again called black-winged kite, while the name black-shouldered kite is now reserved for an Australian species, Elanus axillaris, lumped into E. caeruleus but is now regarded as separate again. The coloration of the white-tailed kite is gull-like, but its shape and flight is falcon-like, with a rounded tail. White underneath, it has black wingtips and shoulders. A mid-sized kite, it measures 35–43 cm in length, spans 88–102 cm across the wings and weighs 250–380 g. Both the wings, at 29–32.8 cm each, the tail, at 15.1–18.6 cm, are elongated. The tarsus measures around 3.6 cm. The white-tailed kite was rendered extinct in California in the 1930s and 1940s due to shooting and egg-collecting, but they are now common again, their distribution is however. They can be found in the Central Valley and southern coastal areas, open land around Goleta including the Ellwood Mesa Open Space, marshes in Humboldt County, around the San Francisco Bay. Elsewhere, they are still absent.
They are found in southern Texas, on the Baja California Peninsula, in eastern Mexico. Globally, they are not considered threatened species by the IUCN. On rare occasions the bird can be found far outside its usual range. At different times, two had been sighted in New England as of 2010. White-tailed kites feed principally on rodents, they are seen patrolling or hovering over lowland scrub or grassland, they if eat other birds, in open cerrado, mixed-species feeding flocks will ignore them. Outside the breeding season, they roost communally in groups of up to 100. White-tailed kites have been observed in aerial combat at the margins of territories, locking talons in a behaviour described as "grappling". White-tailed Kite – Elanus Leucurus – USGS Patuxent Bird Identification InfoCenter White-tailed Kite Species Account – Cornell Lab of Ornithology White-tailed Kite Stamps at bird-stamps.org "White-tailed Kite media". Internet Bird Collection. White-tailed kite photo gallery at VIREO BirdLife species factsheet for Elanus leucurus White-tailed Kite species account at Neotropical Birds Interactive range map of Elanus leucurus at IUCN Red List maps Audio recordings of White-tailed Kite on Xeno-canto
The Accipitridae, one of the four families within the order Accipitriformes, are a family of small to large birds with hooked bills and variable morphology based on diet. They feed on a range of prey items from insects to medium-sized mammals, with a number feeding on carrion and a few feeding on fruit; the Accipitridae have a cosmopolitan distribution, being found on all the world's continents and a number of oceanic island groups. Some species are migratory. Many well-known birds, such as hawks, kites and Old World vultures are included in this group; the osprey is placed in a separate family, as is the secretary bird, the New World vultures are usually now regarded as a separate family or order. Karyotype data indicate the accipitrids analysed are indeed a distinct monophyletic group, but whether this group should be considered a family or one or several order on their own is a question still to be resolved; the accipitrids have been variously divided into some five to 10 subfamilies. Most share a similar morphology, but many of these groups contain taxa that are more aberrant.
These are placed in their respective position more for lack of better evidence than anything else. It is thus not surprising that the phylogenetic layout of the accipitrids has always been a matter of dispute; the accipitrids are recognizable by a peculiar rearrangement of their chromosomes. Apart from this, morphology and mtDNA cytochrome b sequence data give a confusing picture of these birds' interrelationships. What can be said is that the hawks, kites and Old World vultures as presently assigned in all likelihood do not form monophyletic groups: According to the molecular data, the Buteoninae are most poly- or paraphyletic, with the true eagles, the sea eagles, the buteonine hawks representing distinct lineages; these appear to form a group with the Milvinae and Circinae but the exact relationships between the lineages are not at all robustly resolvable with the present data. The Perninae and the Elaninae are older lineages, as are the Old World vultures; the latter are likely poly- or paraphyletic, with some aberrant species like the bearded and Egyptian vultures standing apart from the naked-necked "true" vultures.
The Accipitridae are a diverse family with a great deal of variation in shape. They range in size from the tiny pearl kite and little sparrowhawk, both of which are 23 cm in length and weigh about 85 g, to the cinereous vulture, which measures up to 120 cm and weighs up to 14 kg. Wingspan can vary from 39 cm in the little sparrowhawk to more than 300 cm in the cinereous and Himalayan vultures. In these extreme species, wing chord length can range from 113 to 890 mm and culmen length from 11 to 88 mm; until the 14th century these huge vultures were surpassed by the extinct Haast's eagle of New Zealand, estimated to have measured up to 140 cm and to have weighed 15 to 16.5 kg in the largest females. In terms of body mass, the Accipitridae are the most diverse family of birds and may be in terms of some aspects of linear size diversity, although lag behind the true parrots and pheasant family in length diversity. Most accipitrids exhibit sexual dimorphism in size, unusually for birds, it is the females that are larger than the males.
This sexual difference in size is most pronounced in active species that hunt birds, such as the Accipiter hawks, in which the size difference averages 25–50%. In a majority of species, such as generalist hunters and rodent-, reptile-, fish-, insect-hunting specialists, the dimorphism is less between a 5% to 30% size difference. In the carrion-eating Old World vultures and snail eating kites, the difference is non-existent; the beaks of accipitrids are hooked. In some species, there is a notch or'tooth' in the upper mandible. In all accipitrids, the base of the upper mandible is covered by a fleshy membrane called the cere, yellow in colour; the tarsi of different species vary by diet. The plumage of the Accipitridae can be striking, but utilises bright colours. Overall they tend to be paler below. There is sexual dimorphism in plumage, when it occurs the males are brighter or the females resemble juveniles. In many species juveniles have a distinctly different plumage; some accipitrids mimic the plumage patterns of other eagles.
They may attempt to resemble a less dangerous species to fool prey, or instead resemble a more dangerous species in order to reduce mobbing by other birds. Several species of accipitrid have crests used in signalling, species without crests can raise the feathers of the crown when alarmed or excited. In contrast most of the Old World vultures possess bare heads without feathers; the senses of the Accipitridae are adapted to hunting, in particular their vision is legendary. The sight of some hawks and eagles is up to 8 times better than that of humans. Large eyes with two fovea provide binocular vis
The pearl kite is a small raptor found in open savanna habitat adjacent to deciduous woodland. It is the only member of the genus Gampsonyx; the scientific name commemorates the English naturalist William Swainson. The type specimen was collected from Brazil by English naturalist William Swainson, described by Nicholas Aylward Vigors in 1825. Vigors noted the similarity to both hawks and falcons, but placed Gampsonyx within the "Accipitrine subfamily" because it lacks the notched beak of the falcons, he noted its striking resemblance to the coloration of the falconets. The pearl kite was classified with the falcons. For example, Peters placed it with the forest falcons in subfamily Polyhieracinae. In the mid-20th century it was found to be related to Elanus based on morphology and its molt schedule; this tiny kite breeds from Panama and Venezuela south to Bolivia and northern Argentina, with an isolated sedentary population in Nicaragua. It is expanding its range and was proved to breed on Trinidad in 1970.
It was first reported in Costa Rica in the mid-1990s, now is common along Pacific slope, to 1000m. The pearl kite weighs 80 -- 95 g, it is one of the two smallest accipitrids in the world. The tiny hawk, another neotropical species, attains a higher weight than the pearl kite; the adult has a black crown, upperparts and tail, a rufous edged white collar, yellow forehead and cheeks white underparts, yellow legs. Immature birds are similar to the adults but have white and chestnut tips to the back and wing feathers, a buff collar and some buff on the white underparts. In flight this species looks black above and white below; the northern form G. s. leonae differs from the nominate G. s. swainsonii in that it has rufous flanks. The nest is a deep cup of sticks built high in a tree; the clutch is 2-4 brown-marked white eggs, incubated by the female for 34–35 days to hatching, with a further 5 weeks to fledging. There may be two broods in a season; the pearl kite feeds on lizards Anolis, but takes small birds and insects.
The call is kitty-kitty-kitty. Hilty, Steven L.. Birds of Venezuela. London: Christopher Helm. ISBN 0-7136-6418-5. Ffrench, Richard. A Guide to the Birds of Trinidad and Tobago. Comstock Publishing. ISBN 0-8014-9792-2. Stiles, F. Gary. A guide to the birds of Costa Rica. Ithaca, N. Y.: Comstock. ISBN 0-8014-9600-4. Pearl Kite videos on the Internet Bird Collection Pearl Kite photo gallery VIREO Photo-High Res "Gampsonyx swainsonii". Avibase. Gampsonyx swainsonii in the Flickr: Field Guide Birds of the World Illustration, plate IX in The Genera of Birds, 2ed. Vol. 1 Synonymy in Catalogue of the Accipitres or Diurnal Birds of Prey in the British Museum
The square-tailed kite is a medium-sized bird of prey in the family Accipitridae, which includes many other diurnal raptors such as kites and harriers. German naturalist Johann Jakob Kaup described the square-tailed kite in 1847; the square-tailed kite is monomorphic with no recorded geographic variations. As an adult the square-tailed kite is a medium-sized raptor, with the following features: Length: 50–56 cm Wingspan: 130–145 cm Weight: Male-501g, Female-650g As an adult, the squared-tailed kite has a white face, with pale eyes and black streaks across the crown; the breast is heavily streaked. The ventral surface of the wings has a rufous-brown lining, a dark carpal crescent, a boldly barred finger. There is a pale white patch on the ventral surface of the wings, at the base of the primary feathers; the tail itself is square with dark sub-terminal band. Square-tailed kites have a black bill, with a pink base and cere, short legs and feet which are whitish or cream; this species does not experience seasonal changes to the colouration of its plumage nor is the species sexual dimorphic.
Juveniles are distinguished from adults by the lack of the white face and their richer rufous colouration. They are significantly less streaked than adults. Square-tailed kites can be confused with a range of other similar sized raptors; the white face and shape of the tail, as well as the overall size of the bird, are considered diagnostic features in such cases The square-tailed kite is a specialised canopy-dwelling predator, can be found in a number of different habitats including open and temperate forests, scrub, riverine trees, savannah. Square-tailed kites can be found in well-vegetated urban areas such as golf courses and parks, they are found on the ground. Square-tailed kites are not densely distributed; the birds can be observed in pairs or family units during their breeding seasons. In Eastern New South Wales, nesting square-tailed kites were found to have home territories of 50 m2, with spaces of around 13 km between nesting pairs. Current population estimates from the IUCN Red List indicate a population of between 1000–10,000 individuals, of which 67% are thought to be sexually mature individuals.
Many square-tailed kites migrate annually, but the timing and locations of these migrations are dependent on the home territory of each individual bird, with some birds not migrating at all. Land clearing for agricultural use, illegal egg collection, hunting are the major threats facing this species. Land clearing is a significant threat, with the removal of trees that could be used by the birds for nesting and breeding causing dispersal and competition for the resources that are still available; this is evident around coastal areas where urban or rural development is occurring. Square-tailed kites are classified on the IUCN Red List as Least Concern; this classification is a result of the species large range, wide distribution, stable population trends, though the species has been classified as Vulnerable and has a range of different classifications at state levels. In New South Wales the species is considered Vulnerable, while it is considered Threatened in Victoria, Endangered in South Australia, Rare in Queensland.
Due to the stable population trend for this species, its IUCN Red List classification of Least Concern, there are no active conservation efforts specific to this species. The species will benefit from any environmental protections in place across its range that preserve suitable square-tailed kite habitat, as well as revegetation of open or urban areas. Square-tailed kites can soar, depending on the positioning of their wings. For gliding, the birds wing are held in medium modified dihedral, when soaring the wings are in a medium to strong dihedral, the tips of the primary flight feathers are curled up; these birds are well suited to flight, use these techniques to travel in or above the tree canopy. They are seen on the ground. Square-tailed kites hunt for food by soaring above or through the tree canopy, skimming over grass, flying transect lines, or quartering; the diet of square-tailed kites includes avian prey-both smaller birds and eggs, small mammals such as mice, insects and reptiles.
Avian prey is young birds such as nestlings or juveniles, square-tailed kites have been observed preying upon a range of other bird species including crested pigeons, New Holland honeyeater. As part of the mate selection process, square-tailed kites perform courtship flights; these flights are aerobatic in nature and allow the individuals to exhibit their flying skills. The male pursues the female, the pair perform aerial rolls in which the talons are presented but do not make contact; these flights can be accompanied by vocalisations. The breeding season of square-tailed kites is specific to the location of the birds; those in temperate Australia will breed between July and February, while those in more tropical areas will breed around April. When nesting, square-tailed kites prefer tall trees in uncleared areas. Both the male and female birds will participate in the building of the nest, or will add to disused nests of other species