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The Wildebeest's guide to South Africa

Black-shouldered Kite

Afrikaans name: Blouvalk

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

Black-shouldered Kite

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.

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

Photo © Steven Herbert

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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References and further reading

A First Guide to South African Birds - 7th Edition - Author: Leonard Gill - Year Published: 1975 - Page: 126

Animals of the Kruger National Park - Author: G. de Graaff - Year Published: 1987 - Page: 69

Birds of Prey of Southern Africa - Author: Peter Steyn - Year Published: 1985 - Page: 46

Birds of the Natal Drakensberg Park - Author: Robin Little and William Bainbridge - Year Published: 1992 - Page: 15

Birds of the South Western Cape - Author: Joy Frandsen - Year Published: - Page: 51

Collins Illustrated Checklist - Birds of Southern Africa - 1st edition - Author: Ber van Perlo - Year Published: 1999 - Page: 14

Eagles, Hawks & Falcons of the World - Author: Leslie Brown and Dean Amadon - Year Published: 1989 - Page: 240

Field Guide to the Birds of Kruger National Park - Author: Ian Sinclair and Ian Whyte - Year Published: 1991 - Page: 50

Field Guide to the Cradle of Humankind - Author: B. Hilton-Barber & Prof. L. R. Berger - Year Published: 2004 - Page: 179

Reader's Digest Illustrated Guide to the Game Parks and Nature Reserves of Southern Africa - 2nd edi - Author: Editor - Alan Duggan - Year Published: 1991 - Page: 409

Roberts' Birds of Southern Africa - 5th Edition - Author: Gordon Lindsay Maclean - Year Published: 1985 - Page: 113

Roberts' Birds of Southern Africa - 6th Edition - Author: Gordon Lindsay Maclean - Year Published: 1993 - Page: 109

Sasol Birds of Southern Africa - 4th Edition - Author: Ian Sinclair et al. - Year Published: 2011 - Page: 114

The Status & Conservation of Birds of Prey in the Transvaal - Author: W. Tarboton and D. Allan - Year Published: 1984 - Page: 24

List of South African Birds

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