Naturalist Corner

Black-winged kite


CAPTURED BY OUR NATURALIST GIRISH

DESCRIPTION
Black-winged Kite is grey and white with black shoulders and red eyes.
Upperparts are bluish-grey. Black wings coverts form a black shoulder patch. Central tail feathers are bluish-grey and outer tail feathers are white. It has long pointed wings and rounded tail.

HABITAT
Black-winged Kite breeds in savannahs, semi-desert grasslands, steppes and cultivated plains with thickets. In dry areas, it needs the vicinity of the water. It may be found from sea level to 2700 metres of elevation.

RANGE
Black-winged Kite lives in sub-Saharan Africa, NW Africa, southern Asia, East Indies, Arabia and southern Europe. Widespread and locally common, this species is widely nomadic, according to the food resources such as rodent populations. It is very sedentary in the equatorial parts of its range.

BEHAVIOUR
Black-winged Kite perches on exposed places from which it hunts small rodents, birds, reptiles and large insects. It may hunt from a perch, but often by hovering in mid-air with skill and little effort. When a prey is selected, it drops silently onto it, feet-first, with wings in high V. It may perform some hovering pauses at intermediate heights, before to drop to ground level. Small preys are eaten while flying, and larger preys are brought to a branch or a rock. They usually hunt at dusk.

DIET
Black-winged Kite feeds mainly on mammals as small rats. It also eats small ground birds and large insects such as grasshoppers and locusts. On Arabian coast, it feeds dead fish, lizards and offal.

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