White-tailed Kite

The White-tailed Kite is an elegant bird of prey that inhabits open grasslands, savannas, and marshes in North and South America. It is known for its graceful flight and distinctive appearance, making it a popular species among birdwatchers.

Basic Description

The White-tailed Kite has a unique appearance that sets it apart from other raptors. Its body length ranges from 15 to 17 inches, with a wingspan of up to 40 inches. The adult male has blue-grey wings, a white head and underparts, black shoulder patches, and red eyes. The female looks similar but has brown streaks on her breast.

Where To Find This Bird

The White-tailed Kite can be found throughout the Americas, from southern Canada to Argentina. In the United States, they are most commonly found along the Pacific Coast states but have been seen as far east as Texas.


White-tailed kites prefer open habitats such as grasslands or marshes near water sources like rivers or lakes where they can hunt small mammals like voles or reptiles including snakes which make up much of their diet depending on type/species this kite lives within different areas (e.g., wetland vs desert).


Like many birds of prey, the White-tailed Kite feeds primarily on small rodents such as mice and voles but will also eat insects when needed if there is not enough available food in their territory.

Cool Facts

– Unlike other raptors who rely on talons to capture prey mid-flight while soaring high above ground level,
the white tailed-kites use agile aerial maneuvers known as hover hunting
to trap prairie dogs or other small animals.
– They are capable of hovering completely still in one spot for an extended period allowing them
to focus closely on potential targets before swooping down rapidly.
– These birds mate for life! Once paired with a mate they will remain together throughout
the breeding seasons, sharing nest building and chick rearing duties.
– White-tailed Kites are considered to be one of the most beautiful raptors in North America,
with their distinctive white plumage and striking red eyes.