Monday, June 29, 2009

Black-shouldered Kite

Driving back and forth to Whyalla as I do, I cover many thousands of kilometers every year, and it is inevitable that a number of birds fall foul of this. A couple of months ago I sadly hit a Black-shouldered Kite, one of a pair that was hunting low over the verge. It was a glancing blow, and I hoped that the bird managed to survive the impact without serious injury. This week, at about the same spot, I again saw a pair of Kites. Hopefully it was the same pair. As it was a nice evening and the light was still reasonable, I did a quick U-turn and tried a couple of shots. When I first came to Australia five years ago it seemed that these lovely birds were everywhere, but over the past couple of years they appear to be declining. These shots were mainly taken in 2005, the first was digiscoped with my Kowa 823 and Nikon 995 combo.


  1. So I though to myself, Hey, we have a Black-shouldered Kite. Then I check my guides and in their infinate wisdome, they changed the name of Elanus caeruleus to White-tailed Kite. Go figure. I used to see these out west very rarely. I hope the decline turns around in your area.

  2. Hi Tony, they are such charismatic birds, I hope the decline....declines! I remember watching one in Portugal a few years ago and thinking how owl like they are when they're hovering. Beautiful.

  3. Hi Guys, Yes they have all been split up now. In Europe/Africa/Asia it is now Black-winged (E. caeruleus) in the Americas its White-tailed (E. leucurus) and out here we have two (just to be greedy!!) Australian Black-shouldered (E. axillaris) and Letter-Winged (E. scriptus) which is very rare - found only way out in the outback. All very lovely birds.

  4. Nice is not good enough,excellent is the word.
    Well done,Tony.
    good capture.

  5. Thanks John. It brings another dimension to my love of birds and nature generally, being able to share it with likeminded people.
    all the best