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Swallow-tailed Kite Elanoides forficatus

  • Order: Accipitriformes
  • Family: Accipitridae
  • Polytypic: 2 subspecies
  • Authors needed...


Distinguishing Characteristics

Swallow-tailed Kite is one of the most distinctive raptors in the sky. Apart from their contrasting white and black colors, their long, deeply forked, unmistakable swallow-like tail easily is seen both while in flight and while perched. The adult has a pure white head, nape, underparts, and underwing coverts, contrasting with the black remiges, rectrices, and back; the feathers of the upperparts also are glossed with hues of blue, green, or purple.

Similar Species

Though there are NO similar species with regard to the incredible tail, some similar looking species are White-tailed Kite (Elanus lecurus), and the Mississippi Kite (Ictinia mississippiensis) is the same approximate size.  In all truth, this is a very distinctly different raptor, and there are no species that look very similar.  When seen in flight, it is unmistakable, but on a perch could be mistaken for the species listed above.

Detailed Description

Information needed. Contribute

Recommended Citation

Swallow-tailed Kite (Elanoides forficatus), In Neotropical Birds Online (T. S. Schulenberg, Editor). Cornell Lab of Ornithology, Ithaca, NY, USA. retrieved from Neotropical Birds Online: