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RAPTORS

Raptors are carnivorous. They hunt by sight during the day, are long lived, and have low reproductive rates. They catch their prey via strong claws three pointing forward and one pointing backward. The raptors that hunt by day are: hawks, eagle, kites, vultures, falcons. Owls hunt by night. Raptors are also called birds of prey.

Order Accipitriformes, family Accipitridae: hawks, eagles, kites, Old World vultures.
Order Accipitriformes, family Cathartidae: New World vultures
Also Accipitriformes: ospreys ( family Pandionidae); secretary bird (family Sagittariidae)
Order Falconiformes, family Falconidae: falcons
Order Strigiformes, family Strigidae: owls


Kites

Order Accipitriformes    Family Accipitridae


The raptors termed kites spend great amount of time soaring. They are generally smaller than eagles and hawks.


Genus Chelictinia  - 1 species

Kite, African Swallow-tailed also  Scissor-tailed Kite  Chelictinia riocourii  Found: Africa
The African Swallow-tailed Kite has gray upperparts; white underparts, forehead; red eyes.
Similar to: Swallow-tailed Kite. Range does not overlap. (American) Swallow-tailed Kite has deeper forked tail and whiter head than African Swallow-tailed Kite.
Image by: 1) BioDiv Library  2, 3) Dick Daniels - Tanzania



Genus Chondrohierax - 1 species

Kite, Hook-billed  Chondrohierax uncinatus  Found: south central USA to South America, Caribbean
The underside of Hook-billed Kites can be blackish, gray, brown, brick red (female), or white (juvenile)
Similar to: Snail Kite. The Hook-billed Kite and Snail Kite both have hooked bills that enable them to eat their favorite food - snails.
Image by: 1, 2) Cláudio Dias Timm - Brazil   3) David Cook - Peru   4) Amy McAndrews - Mexico
1, 2) Female



Genus Elanoides - 1 species

Kite, Swallow-tailed Elanoides forficatus   Found: southeast USA to South America
The Swallow-tailed Kite has blackish upperparts; white underparts; black bill, feet; long forked tail.
Similar to: African Swallow-tailed Kite. Range does not overlap. (American) Swallow-tailed Kite has deeper forked tail and whiter head than African Swallow-tailed Kite.
Image by: 1) Joe Nicholson - Florida  2) Lauren Anderson - Avian Reconditioning Center, Florida    3) Amy Evenstad  4) Artur Pedzwilk - Florida   5) Joe Nicholson  6, 7) Dick Daniels - Ash, North Carolina



Genus Elanus

Kite, Black-shouldered (African)   also  Black Winged Kite   Elanus caeruleus  Found: Europe, Africa, southern Asia,
Indonesia, Philippines, Papua New Guinea
The Black-shouldered Kite has gray upperparts; black shoulders; white face, underparts; black around the eyes; large head; short tail.
Similar to: Black-shouldered Kite (Australian). The Black-shouldered Kite (African) and Black-shouldered Kite (Australian) were previously considered the same species. The "Australian" is found only in Australia. The "African" is found in Europe, Africa, southern Asia, Indonesia, Philippines, Papua New Guinea.
Similar to: White-tailed Kite.  Range does not overlap.
Image by: 1, 2, 3) Dick Daniels - Radical Raptors, South Africa   4) T. S. Ganesh - India   5, 7) Dick - Nairobi National Park, Kenya    6) Tarique Sani - India  8) Lip Kee - Singapore 

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Kite, Black-shouldered (Australian)  also Australian KIte    Elanus axillaris  Found: Australia
The Black-shouldered Kite has gray upperparts; black shoulders; white head, underparts; black around the eyes; large head; short tail.
Similar to: Black-shouldered Kite (African). The Black-shouldered Kite (African) and Black-shouldered Kite (Australian) were previously considered the same species. The "Australian" is found only in Australia. The "African" is found in Europe, Africa, southern Asia, Indonesia, Philippines, Papua New Guinea.
Similar to: White-tailed Kite.  Range does not overlap.
Image by:  1) David Cook - South Australia  2)  Patrick_K59 - Australia   Wayne Butterworth - Australia  David Jenkins - Australia


Kite, Letter-winged  Elanus scriptus  Found: Australia
The Letter-winged Kite has mainly white plumage with a bold black stripe on the shoulders and wings.
Image by: 1) John Gould  2) Ron Knight - Australia


Kite, White-tailed  Elanus leucurus    Found: The Americas
The White-tailed Kite has gray upperparts; black shoulders; white face, underparts; black around the eyes; large head; short tail.
Similar to: Black-shouldered Kite (African). Range does not overlap.
Similar to: Black-shouldered Kite (Australian).  Range does not overlap.
Similar to: Mississippi Kite.  White-tailed Kite has whiter head and blacker shoulders than Mississippi Kite
Image by: 1, 3) Maggie Smith - California  2) Len Blumin - California  4) Greg Schechter  5) Gerardo Santos - Mexico    6) Dario Sanches - Brazil  Kevin Cole   7) Charlie Westerinen - near Sacramento, CA  8) Tom Clifton - California 
1, 2) Juvenile



Genus Gampsonyx - 1 species

Kite, Pearl   Gampsonyx swainsonii  Found: Central and South America
The Pearl Kite has black upperparts, wings, tail; buffy forehead; dark partial collar; white underparts; yellow legs. Juvenile has some white on the mainly black upperparts.
Image by: 1) Barloventomagico  - Venezuela  2) Cláudio Timm - Brazil  3) Dilson Santos   4) Jerry Oldenettel - Costa Rica
1) Juvenile



Genus Haliastur

Kite, Brahminy Haliastur indus   Found: southern Asia, Australia, Indonesia, Philippines, Papua New Guinea
The Brahminy Kite has chestnut upperparts, lower-belly; white head, neck, breast, upper-belly; black wingtips.
Image by: 1, 2) Dick Daniels - Featherdale Wildlife Park, Australia  3) Charlie Westerinen - Featherdale  4) sfitzgerald86 - India  5)  Nikhil Prabhakar - India


Kite, Whistling Haliastur sphenurus   Found: Australia
The Whistling Kite has brown upperparts; light brown head, neck, underparts; dark flight feathers with light wing-coverts.
Image by:  1)Jim Bendon - North Queensland  2, 3) David Jenkins - Victoria    4) Athena Ferreira  5) Dick Daniels - Australia 6) David Cook 7, 8, 9) Michael Dawes (ID by Luke Jenkins).





Genus Hamirostra - 1 species

Kite, Black-breasted also Black-breasted Buzzard also Black-breasted Vulture Hamirostra melanosternon  Found: Australia
The Black-breasted Kite has mainly darkish plumage; rufous nape; mottled shoulders;. white patch near wingtips.
Image by:   1, 2) Benjamint444b - Annapurna region of Nepal  3) Lip Kee - Northern Territory



Genus Harpagus
These are small kites. They have pale tails with dark bars; white throat with a dark stripe down the middle; blunt bill with two notches on each side of the upper mandible.

Kite, Double-toothed   Harpagus bidentatus  Found: Central and South America
The Double-toothed Kite has blackish upperparts; gray head; whitish throat with dark median stripe; rufous upper-breast; whitish lower-breast and belly with gray bars;  dark under-tail with white barring.
Image by: 1) Barloventomagiico - Venezuela  2, 3) Joule_e  4) Ben Tavener - Ecuador 
1) Juvenile


Kite, Rufous-thighed  Harpagus diodon  Found: South America
The Rufous-thighed Kite has blackish upperparts; gray head; whitish throat with dark median stripe; light gray underparts; rufous thighs, under-wings;  light gray under-tail with 4 dark bars.
Image by: 1) Rick Simpson  2) Paulo Victor



Genus Helicolestes - 1 species

Kite, Slender-billed  Helicolestes hamatus  Found: Panama, South America
The Slender-billed Kite has dark gray plumage; yellow eyes. Thin and hooked bill is used for eating snails.
Similar to: Snail Kite (male). Slender-billed Kite has shorter tail than Snail Kite.
Image by: 1) Claudio Timm



Genus Ictinia

Kite, Mississippi  Ictinia mississippiensis  Found: south USA to South America
The Mississippi Kite has gray plumage with darker gray wings and tail.
Similar to: Plumbeous Kite. Plumbeous Kite has rufous on primaries; Mississippi Kite has little rufous.
Similar to: White-tailed Kite.  White-tailed Kite has whiter head and blacker shoulders than Mississippi Kite
Image by: 1) Duane Bryce  2) Jerry Oldenettel - New Mexico  3) Lotus Dreamer - Oklahoma   4, 5, 6, 7, 8) Dick Daniels - Carolina Raptor Center
1, 2) Juvenile


Kite, Plumbeous  Ictinia plumbea  Found: Mexico, Central America, South America
The Plumbeous Kite has mainly slate-gray plumage; red eyes; orange legs; 2 to 3 white bands on tail; rufous on primary feathers.
Similar to: Mississippi Kite. Plumbeous Kite has rufous on primaries; Mississippi Kite has little rufous.
Image by: 1) Barloventomagico - Venezuela  2, 3) Harmony on Planet Earth - Panama   4) Alastair Rae - Brazil  5) Wagner Lemes   6) Ron Knight - Argentina




Genus Leptodon

Kite, Gray-headed  Leptodon cayanensis  Found: Mexico, Central America, South America
The Gray-headed Kite has black upperparts, gray head; white underparts; black tail with 2 or 3 white bars; blue bill; gray legs.
Image by: 1) Victor Burolla - Costa Rica  2) Claudi Timm   3) Jerry OIdenettel - Venezuela


Kite, White-collared  Leptodon forbesi  Found: northeast Brazil
The White-collared Kite has black upperparts, gray head; white hind-neck, underparts; gray tail with broad subterminal band and narrow whitish tip. Critically endangered.
Image by: 1) Ciro Albano - Pernambuco, Brazil



Genus Lophoictinia - 1 species

Kite, Square-tailed  Lophoictinia isura  Found: Australia
The Square-tailed Kite has a whitish face; streaked breast; barred tail with dark sub-terminal band.
Image by: 1) John Gould  2) Oystercatcher - New South Wales



Genus Milvus

Kite, Black Milvus migrans   Found: Europe, Asia, Africa, Australia
The Black Kite has dark brown upperparts; paler head, neck; dark eye patch; brown underparts; black bill; yellowish cere.
Similar to: Yellow-billed Kite. Black Kite has black bill; Yellow-billed Kite has yellow bill.
Image by:  1) Lie Van Rompaey    2, 3) Dick Daniels - Nepal  4) Dick - Madagascar  5) Cristiano Crolle - Annone Lake, Italy 


Kite, Red Milvus milvus   Found: Europe and northwest Africa
The Red Kite has mainly rufous plumage; lighter face; white primary flight feathers with black tips; yellow bill.
Image by: 1) Hans Hillewaert - Belgium  2) Pavrabec  3) Thomas Kraft - Germany  4) Cristiano Crolle - near Novara Italy 


Kite, Yellow-billed   Milvus aegyptius    Found: Africa
The Yellow-billed Kite is considered by some to be a subspecies of the Black Kite. It has dark brown upperparts; paler head, neck; dark eye patch; brown underparts; yellow bill, cere.
Similar to: Black Kite. Black Kite has black bill; Yellow-billed Kite has yellow bill.
Image by: 1) D. Gordon Robertson - Ngorongoro Crater Park, Tanzania  2) Schuyler Shepherd   3, 4, 5) Arno Meinties   6, 7) Dick Daniels - Tanzania  8, 9) Sias van Schalkwyk - South Africa
1) Juvenile



Genus Rostrhamus  - 1 species

Kite, Snail  Rostrhamus sociabilis   Found: Florida, Central America, Caribbean, South America
Similar to: Hook-billed Kite. The Hook-billed Kite and Snail Kite both have hooked bills that enable them to eat their favorite food - snails.
Similar to: Slender-billed Kite. Slender-billed Kite has shorter tail than Snail Kite.
Image by: 1, 2, 3, 6, 8) Cláudio Timm - Rio Grande do Sul, Brazil  4,  5, 7) Dario Sanches 
1, 2) Juvenile  3, 4) juvenile male  5, 6) Female  7, 8) Male





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