Kite (bird) facts for kids

Kids Encyclopedia Facts
Black kite
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Aves
Order: Accipitriformes
Family: Accipitridae
  • Milvinae
    • Harpagus
    • Ictinia
    • Rostrhamus
    • Helicolestes
    • Haliastur
    • Milvus
    • Lophoictinia
    • Hamirostra

  • 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
      • Black-winged kite, Elanus caeruleus
      • Black-shouldered kite, Elanus axillaris
      • White-tailed kite, Elanus leucurus
      • Letter-winged kite, Elanus scriptus
    • Genus Chelictinia
      • Scissor-tailed kite, Chelictinia riocourii
    • Genus Machaerhamphus
      • Bat hawk, Machaerhamphus alcinus
    • Genus Gampsonyx
      • Pearl kite, Gampsonyx swainsonii
    • Genus Elanoides
      • Swallow-tailed kite, Elanoides forficatus
  • Subfamily Milvinae
    • Genus Harpagus
      • Double-toothed kite, Harpagus bidentatus
      • Rufous-thighed kite, Harpagus diodon
    • Genus Ictinia
      • Mississippi kite, Ictinia mississippiensis
      • Plumbeous kite, Ictinia plumbea
    • Genus Rostrhamus
    • Genus Helicolestes
      • Slender-billed kite, Helicolestes hamatus - formerly in Rostrhamus
    • Genus Haliastur
      • Whistling kite, Haliastur sphenurus
      • Brahminy kite, Haliastur indus
    • 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
      • Square-tailed kite, Lophoictinia isura
    • Genus Hamirostra
      • Black-breasted buzzard, Hamirostra melanosternon

A few of the Perninae are also called kites.

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

Images for kids

Kite (bird) Facts for Kids. Kiddle Encyclopedia.