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Letter-winged kite

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Letter-winged Kite (Elanus scriptus)

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Letter-Winged Kites

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Letter-winged Kite

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Letter-winged Kite

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Letter winged Kite (Juvenile) Strzelecki Track South Australia

The letter-winged kite is a small, rare and irruptive raptor native to Australia. The adult is predominantly pale grey and white with black shoulders and red eyes. It has a highly distinctive black underwing pattern of a shallow ‘M’ or 'W' shape, seen when in flight. This distinguishes it from the otherwise similar black-shouldered kite. Roosting during the day in well-foliaged trees and hunting at night, it is the world's only fully nocturnal Accipitriformes or Falconiformes raptor. Like all the elanid kites, it is a specialist predator of rodents, which it hunts by hovering in mid-air above grasslands and fields.
  • Taxonomy 

  • Description 

  • Distribution and habitat 

  • Behaviour 

  • Conservation status