Black-shouldered Kites

Seeing this fledgling Black-shouldered Kite was the highlight of a recent visit to the Western Treatment Plant – shivers of delight. I especially like birds that have warm rufous colouring and these magnificent babies are among my favourites. The sun had almost set so its colouring looks even richer in the warm, golden light.


Black-shouldered Kite (Elanus axillaris) – fledgling
1/1250, f/7.1, ISO 800


Black-shouldered Kites are about 36cm in length and weigh a bit under 300g. The parent birds returned to feed their youngster, which will soon be foraging for itself, hovering over the grasslands before dropping down on its prey. These kites often eat their prey on the wing but if they’ve caught something larger they will perch to eat, in earlier posts I have images of kites eating mice, including here:  Mouse fights back?



Black-shouldered Kite (Elanus axillaris)
1/1000, f/6.3, ISO 400



I took the image above a while ago but wasn’t able to enter it in internationally accredited ‘nature’ salon categories because its perch isn’t natural and shows the ‘hand of man’. I could enter it in open categories, hmmm, maybe I will try it one day.

Talking of entering salons I had a very welcome package in my mailbox today, my 100th award, a Gold Medal for The Pollinator from a Greek salon – which was definitely nicer to receive than the usual collection of bills.

Happy birding



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4 comments to Black-shouldered Kites

  • Alyssa

    Wow I didn’t know it was your 100th award! How fitting that it be a gold medal for such a special image.

    I love these pics of the kites. The first looks so sweet and luminous and the second looks so menacing!

  • Gai Collens

    Fabulous photo of the black shouldered kite Kim and Congratulations on your 100th award for The Pollinator!!

    • lirralirra

      Thank you Gai. I was very lucky to capture the pollinator shot, the amount of pollen must have been just perfect for a flurry of miniature drama 🙂

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