Species Spotlight: Swallow-tailed Kite

These unique and unmistakable birds have been seen at Beidler all spring and summer!

Swallow-tailed Kites are one of the most beautiful and striking birds of prey in North America. Their graceful flight – like a kite – continue to amaze birders and non-birders alike. They have small bodies and proportionally very large wings, enabling them to stay aloft without expending too much energy.

They rely on a matrix of habitats like bottomland hardwood forest for nesting and grasslands for foraging. This time of year, Swallow-tailed kites will begin to group in pre-migratory roosts before migration and be seen in large numbers.

Kites “eat on the wing” (eat while flying). Their raptor traits include grabbing food with their feet and bringing their prey to their mouths. While mostly being aerial insectivores, Swallow-tailed kites will also eat snakes, nestling birds, frogs, lizards, sometimes even bats.

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