Posts Tagged: swallow-tailed kite

The Elegant Swallow-tailed Kite

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Swallow-tailed Kite in flight with prey

The Swallow-Tailed Kite soars in silently and seems to appear out of thin air and disappears just as silently. I have read it is because this striking bird of prey rarely flaps its wings. It changes directions as it swoops in the air overhead by pivoting its tail feathers! They are elegant as they feed on the wing and sail stealthily.

Swallow-Tailed Kites

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Swallow-Tailed Kite in flight holding prey with feet

The Swallow-tailed kite is one of the most graceful and handsome birds I ever photographed. They breed in parts of Florida in the summer and then assemble in a group and migrate to South America for the winter. All the Swallow-tailed Kites in the United States leave at the end of summer. The Swallow-tailed Kite seems to float through the air without ever flapping their wings. They veer and pivot, using their long forked tail with precision as a rudder as they seem to fly effortlessly. They capture all their food in the air and transfer the prey to their hooked beak in flight. The male catches prey on the wing and takes it back to the female at the nest to feed the young. Since this bird hasn’t devoured his prey, I presume this is a male Swallow-tailed Kite carrying food to his mate and little ones.