To make it easier to picture the swallow-tailed kites in the wild, browse the images below.
The swallow-tailed kite (elanoides forticatus) can be found over woodland and forested swamps, marshes and rivers as well as open fields that might harbor small animals and insects. Elanoides forticatus migrates between the southeastern United States and South America as far as eastern Peru and northern Argentina. It is seen in Mexico, the Caribbean and Central America as well.
The swallow-tailed kite is a large, slender, raptor that uses it long, narrow wings and long deeply forked tail to maneuver and stay aloft, rarely needing to flap its wings.
The adult swallow-tailed kites eat mostly insects and swallow their food while flying, rarely perching during the day. Although the adults eat mainly insects, they feed their young from the many small animals they capture. The males bring in animals that they pass to the females to feed to the nestlings.
Swallow-tailed kites have been known to bring whole wasp nests back to their nests, eat the larva, and use the remains of the wasp nest to help line their nest. They nest in tall trees near open