White-Tailed Kite

White-Tailed Kite near Leola Marsh, Adams County, Wisconsin.  Photographed on September 30, 2013.

White-Tailed Kite

White-Tailed Kite

Binomial name: Elanus leucurus

Category: Hawks, Kites, Eagles, and Allies

Description: White with black shoulders and wingtips; elongated wings and tail.  Red eyes and yellow legs.

Size: 14” – 17” long, 35” – 40” wingspan

Weight: 8.8 oz. – 13 oz.

Habitat: Coastal areas, marshes, sparse woodlands, and grasslands

Diet: Rodents and other small mammals

Nesting: Both parents choose the nesting site and may participate in building the nest; sometimes only the female builds the nest.  The nest is typically in the top third of a tree and is shallow and made with twigs and grasses or leaves.  The female will lay an average of 4 eggs at a time, laying 1 brood per season.  The incubation period lasts 30 to 32 days and the young remain in the nest for about 35 days.

Notes: The White-Tailed Kite can hover in midair 80 feet above the ground without flapping its wings by facing into the wind.  This behavior is called “kiting,” thus the name White-Tailed Kite.  From this stationary position, the White-Tailed Kite will plunge straight down to retrieve its prey.

White-Tailed Kite

White-Tailed Kite

White-Tailed Kite

White-Tailed Kite

White-Tailed Kite

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About admin

Window to Wildlife features the photography of Jim Edlhuber. A lifelong native of Wisconsin, Jim has been photographing wildlife for 20 years. He considers himself an avid photographer and is always trying to capture nature and wildlife through his lens. He is in several photography clubs and has won numerous awards for his work. In recent years, Jim has focused mostly on birding photography and finds it to be the most challenging.

2 Responses to White-Tailed Kite

  1. Nancy Nabak says:

    Brilliant captures, Jim! Second to last is my favorite. Stunning!

  2. Mary says:

    Hi Jim-You were right, my friend and I saw the buffleheads at her pond in early spring. The white-tailed kite is beautiful. Best of luck birding this fall.-Mary

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