Asa Wright Nature Center
Photo courtesy Stuart Elsom
This is a small kite that has a long tail and short orange legs. The upperparts and
head are slate grey and the tail has three white bands and a white tip. The
primary flight feathers are barred with white. The throat is white with a black
central stripe, the rest of the underparts are rufous with gray and white barring on the
abdomen. The undertail coverts are white and the underwing are barred black and white. The grey of the cheeks extends across below the white throat. The bill is
black, the cere is greenish yellow and the iris red or yellow. The female is similar to
the male but has less rufous below. The adult size is between 13 and 15 inches (33 - 38cm)
and weight is between 170 grams to 220 grams. The immature are similar to the adult but
are brown above and creamy unmarked white on breast and belly. Older immatures have dark
throat stripe, streaked chest and barred lower underparts.
It is rather sluggish and can sometimes be seen perched for lengthy
periods at the edge of a clearing, sometimes after a shower, with its wings spread. It
often suns itself in dead trees and hunts from them rather like a flycatcher. At times the
flight is rapid and pigeon-like as it rises into a tall tree; at other times it flaps and
glides like an accipiter.
Family - Kites
Latin Name - Harpagus bidentatus
Range - Mexico south to Venezuela and including Trinidad
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