skip to content

Ictinia mississippiensis

Mississippi Kite

  • Order: Accipitriformes
  • Family: Accipitridae


Ictinia mississippiensis

Finca Las Costas, Salta, Argentina, 3 December 2012 © Juan I. Areta

The Mississippi Kite, together with its congener the Plumbeous Kite, form the genus Ictinia which is endemic to the Neotropics. The Mississippi Kite is a long distance migrant. It breeds in loose semi-colonial aggregations and forage on the wing for insects in open habitats in southern and central North America. In September, they begin to move south in loose flocks and within a few weeks they arrive in northern Argentina and southern Paraguay, where they spend the boreal winter foraging for insects. Come April, kites in flocks containing as many as 2300 birds can be seen daily migrating northward through coastal Mexico. The Mississippi Kite is very similar to the Plumbeous Kite and in poor light or from afar cannot be differentiated, and even upon closer inspection must be identified with great care.

Help complete this species

There are many ways to contribute — we need species information, photographs, audio, video, translations, maps, distribution data, and bird sightings. There's a role for everyone!

Learn more

Recommended Citation

. 2010. Mississippi Kite (Ictinia mississippiensis), Neotropical Birds Online (T. S. Schulenberg, Editor). Ithaca: Cornell Lab of Ornithology; retrieved from Neotropical Birds Online:

This map is based on the maps available from the NatureServe InfoNatura website. The data for these maps are provided by NatureServe in collaboration with Robert Ridgely, James Zook, The Nature Conservancy - Migratory Bird Program, Conservation International - CABS, World Wildlife Fund - US, and Environment Canada - WILDSPACE.

  • Migration/Movement:
  • Primary Habitat:
  • Foraging Strata:
  • Foraging Behavior:
  • Diet:
  • Sociality:
  • Mating System:
  • Nest Form:
  • Clutch: -
  • IUCN Status: