Very like Black-shouldered Kite, but has a distinct black bar the length of its underwing. Crown greyer, head and eyes larger, giving it a somewhat owl-like, capped look, feet whitish.
Nocturnal Diurnal, , Forms loose flocks, sometimes numbering 50 - 100, typically roosts in companies in leafy trees or on dead branches by day , hunts by night. Letter-winged kite is a specialised night-hunter of rats identified by an eye patch which does not extend behind the eye.
Grassland, Open savanna near tree-lined watercourses; floodplains.
May to October. Breed repeatedly in good seasons, otherwise raise 3 chicks over 12 weeks. Incubation by female, takes 25-36 days, and young fledge in 30-35 days.
Kakadu National Park
Carnivore, Feeds mainly on rats; mice; lizards and grasshoppers. Each bird probably consumes over 1,000 mice in a year
|| Letter-winged Kite
|| Elanus scriptus
|| Near Threatened
|| 350 - 380 mm, span 900mm.
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