Australian Bush Birds
Black Kite  -  Milvus migrans
Black Kite Black Kite
The Black Kite is seen in large number soaring over outback townships; the forked tail is a good identification feature.
Black Kite The forked tail is clearly seen when the Black Kite is at rest.
map map The Black Kite - Milvus migrans - is dusky blackish-brown in colour but appears black from a distance. Darker patch behind the eyes. Long wings, the tips reach the long tail when perched. Tail is forked, best seen in flight but also visible on perch. Spread wings have gently curved leading and trailing edges; the end are conspicuously 'fingered' with darker coloured feathers; trailing edge feathers are lighter coloured when viewed from below. Grows 45 to 55 centimetres, wingspan 120 to 140 centimetres.

Flies with a slow floating glide and occasional wing flaps. Glides and soars with the tail fanned and twisting to use breezes and updrafts. Wings usually held slightly bowed with the outer wings drooping slightly. Often glides just above or between the treetops maintaining a glide in still air with an occasional wing flap. Sometimes a flock of black kites soars to such heights that individual birds can barely be seen from the ground.

Rarely seen alone, usually in flocks. Inhabits open plains, timbered watercourses, rubbish dumps, often around homesteads. Scavenges carrion and rubbish around coastal towns and stations. Found Australia-wide except the south-east corner. Greatest numbers in Queensland and the north of Western Australia.

   Field Guide to Australian Birds - Morecombe, pages 80-81.
   Field Guide to the Birds of Australia - Simpson & Day, pages 118-119.