Black-shouldered Kite

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Black-shouldered Kite

Elanus axillaris


These birds form monogamous pairs which remain together for the year. Both sexes build a nest on a high tree, bridge or power pole. Breeding season is usually from April to December or whenever prey is abundant. Clutch size is 2-4. The female incubates the eggs for 30-34 days and the young leave the parents after a month.


Details Description
Type
Bird
Group
Raptor
Identifying Characteristics

A medium-small raptor (35-38 cm). Pale grey on upper surface. Head, body and tail are pure white. Black shoulders. Wings are white underneath with black wing tips. Yellow nostrils, legs and feet.

Distinctive Markings

Black shoulder patch. Distinctive black, comma shape above and behind the red eye.

Diet

Carnivore. Feeds mainly on rodents, in particular the introduced house mouse. Also eats insects, especially grasshoppers.

Habitat

Occupies treed grasslands, farms, roadsides, vacant wastelands of urban and coastal areas. Also found in heaths or saltbush with sparsely scattered trees.

Native Status
Native to Australia
Sounds
Short, piping "siep" repeated every 5 seconds. Husky "scrair" repeated every 5-10 seconds. Contact call "chek, chek, chek". Distress call is an aggressive "kik - kik - kik -".
Taxonomy
Phylum
Chordata
Class
Aves
Order
Falconiformes
Family
Accipitridae
Genus
Elanus
Species
axillaris
Found across mainland Australia but has been sighted in northern Tasmania and on some islands in Bass Strait.

Distribution maps indicate current and historic locations where species have been sighted.

Source: Atlas of Living Australia

Conservation Status
DEPI Advisory List
Not listed
FFG Act
Not listed
EPBC Act
Not listed

The conservation status of species is listed within Victoria and Australia.

The Department of Environment and Primary Industry (DEPI) Advisory List consists of non-statutory advisory lists of rare or threatened flora and fauna within Victoria.

The Flora and Fauna Guarantee Act 1988 (FFG Act) lists threatened species in Victoria. Under the Act, an Action Statement is produced for each listed species.

The Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999 (EPBC Act) is the Australian Government’s key piece of environmental legislation, listing nationally threatened native species and ecological communities.

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