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Black-shouldered Kite

Afrikaans name: Blouvalk

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Black-shouldered Kite

Photo © Steven Herbert

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A Black-shouldered Kite looking clumsy as it loses its balance on thin twigs.

Photo © Steven Herbert

Elanus caeruleus

Some sources call this species the Black-winged Kite to avoid confusion with the Black-shouldered Kite found in Australia (I think that the Australians should rename their species).

The black shoulders of this species are very evident when the bird is perched.

The Black-shouldered Kite is often seen hovering over open grassland while it hunts for prey. There are very few birds in South Africa that can actually hover as these birds can. Most need to do it into a strong breeze.

Their prey includes small rodents, insects and lizards.

They lay 3 or 4 eggs in a nest made of twigs.

The Black-shouldered Kite can be found virtually anywhere in South Africa. Although it may be found in a variety of habitats it prefers grassland, cultivated land and fynbos. Beyond South Africa's birders it is widely distributed through to India and parts of Europe.

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