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Kite (bird) facts for kids

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Milvus migrans 2005-new.jpg
Black kite
Scientific classification

  • Elaninae
    • Elanus
    • Chelictinia
    • Machaerhamphus
    • Gampsonyx
    • Elanoides

Kite is a common name for certain birds of prey in the family Accipitridae, particularly in subfamilies Milvinae, Elaninae, and Perninae. Some authors use the terms "hovering kite" and "soaring kite" to distinguish between Elanus and the milvine kites, respectively.

Kites are raptors, along with hawks and eagles, are from the family Accipitridae. They have long wings and weak legs and spend most of the time soaring. Most feed mainly on carrion, some take live prey.

Isis is said in ancient Egyptian mythology to have taken the form of a kite in various situations in order to resurrect the dead.

Species list

  • Subfamily Elaninae
    • Genus Elanus
    • Genus Chelictinia
      • Scissor-tailed kite, Chelictinia riocourii
    • Genus Machaerhamphus
      • Bat hawk, Machaerhamphus alcinus
    • Genus Gampsonyx
      • Pearl kite, Gampsonyx swainsonii
    • Genus Elanoides
  • Subfamily Milvinae
    • Genus Harpagus
      • Double-toothed kite, Harpagus bidentatus
      • Rufous-thighed kite, Harpagus diodon
    • Genus Ictinia
    • Genus Rostrhamus
    • Genus Helicolestes
      • Slender-billed kite, Helicolestes hamatus - formerly in Rostrhamus
    • Genus Haliastur
    • Genus Milvus
      • Red kite, Milvus milvus
        • Cape Verde kite, Milvus (milvus) fasciicauda - extinct (2000)
      • Black kite, Milvus migrans
      • Black-eared kite, Milvus (migrans) lineatus
      • Yellow-billed Kite, Milvus (migrans) aegyptius
    • Genus Lophoictinia
    • Genus Hamirostra

A few of the Perninae are also called kites.

  • Grey-headed kite, Leptodon cayanensis
  • White-collared kite, Leptodon forbesi
  • Hook-billed kite, Chondrohierax uncinatus

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