Kites

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

Forked Tail

A swallow-tailed kite soars over a hay field near Brooksville,k Florida searching for prey.

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Soaring Swallow-tailed Kite

A swallow-tailed kite soars over a hay field near Brooksville, Florida looking for insects or small animals.

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Come Eat

An adult swallow-tailed kite calls to its fledgling young to try to coax it to hunt for food for the long migration to South America that will soon be coming up.

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Fattening Diet

Flying over a hay field in eastern Hernando County, Florida, a swallow-tailed kite has captured an insect to eat to help fatten it for the migration to South America that will be coming up soon.

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Beggar

A fledgling swallow-tailed kite rests in a tree calling to its parents to try to get them to bring it some food so that it doesn't have to hunt. The parents want it to prepare for the long migration coming up soon to South America, and so are trying to ignore the calls.

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Vigilant Parent

A Swallow-tailed kite eyes an intruder near a tree with a young nestling in it.

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Mid Flight Snack

This swallow-tailed kite is eating an insect that it caught while searching a hay field in Hernando County, Florida.

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Preparation For Migration

A swallow-tailed kite soars over the fields near Oxford, Florida in Sumter County searching for food to fatten up on before making the long migration to South America.

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Coming Right At You

This swallow-tailed kite just took flight from a tree in Hillsborough County's E.G. Simmons Park in Ruskin, Florida after a short rest on a warm summers day in July of 2016.

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Resting Kite

This swallow-tailed kite stopped in Hillsborough County's E.G. Simmons Park in Ruskin, Florida for a seldom taken rest in a tree on a warm summers day in July of 2016.

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Full Spread

This swallow-tailed kite was flying over a field used to grow hay near State Road 50 in Hernando County Florida in early May of 2016 searching for prey.

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Mastery Of The Skies

This swallow-tailed kite was flying over a field used to grow hay near State Road 50 in Hernando County Florida in early May of 2016 searching for prey.

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