photographs by Douglas Herr
family Accipitridae: White-tailed Kite (Elanus leucurus)

White-tailed Kite #00, Santa Clara County California - December 1971

White-tailed Kite #01, Santa Clara County California - December 1971

White-tailed Kite #02, Yolo County California - 19 December 2011

White-tailed Kite #03, Yolo County California - 19 December 2011

White-tailed Kite #04, Yolo County California - 03 September 2012

White-tailed Kite #05, non-releasable captive - 02 May 2012

White-tailed Kite #06, Yolo County California - 30 November 2015

White-tailed Kite #07, Yolo County California - 07 February 2018

White-tailed Kite #08, Glenn County California - 08 October 2020

White-tailed Kite #09, Yolo County California - 30 June 2021

White-tailed Kite #10, Yolo County California - 30 June 2021

White-tailed Kite #11, Yolo County California - 29 September 2022

White-tailed Kite #12, Yolo County California - 29 September 2022

Field identification tips: A buoyant raptor often observed hovering over grasslands, the white tail and underparts with dark 'wrists' are distinctive. Dark shoulders and gray upperparts are visible on a perched bird. Immature E. leucurus has a rusty wash on the breast and head, with a dark eye that turns red as the bird matures.

Typical range: In North America, this species is a year-round resident in the lowlands of the pacific coast states of California, Oregon and Washington with additional populations in south Florida, southern Texas and south through Mexico and South America.

Habitat: E. leucurus is a bird of open grasslands where it hunts small mammals by hovering until it spots its prey, then seemingly floats to the ground to capture its meal.

all photographs Copyright (C) Douglas Herr
last updated 01 October 2022