Black Kite

Scientific Name: Milvus migrans

Malay Name: Helang-Kembara Hitam

Chinese Name: 黑鸢

Range: Found from Europe, Africa, Middle East, Indian subcontinent, Central Asia, Siberia, China, Japan, Korea, Indochina and discontinously to Sulawesi, Lesser Sundas, Papua New Guinea and northern Australia with the northern temperate populations wintering south to Africa, Indian subcontinent and Southeast Asia

Taxonomy: Polytypic. Subspecies are: migrans, lineatus, govinda, formosanus, affinis.

Local Subspecies: lineatus

Size: 61-66 cm

Identification: Adult resembles juvenile Brahminy Kite but has darker overall plumage, distinctive forked tail that appears almost square-cut when broadly fanned in flight and conspicuous whitish patch on the base of primaries. Juvenile resembles adult but has prominent whitish streaks on breast and belly.

Similar looking species: Booted Eagle, Brahminy Kite

Habitat: Open country, reclaimed land, coastal habitat and forest.


Local Status: Rare migrant

Conservation Status: Least Concern (BirdLife International 2021)

Location: Recent sightings were at Changi, Tuas South, Punggol Barat, Central Catchment Forest, Sungei Buloh Wetland Reserve, Bulim Avenue and Choa Chu Kang Christian Cemetery.

Featured articles:

Migrant bar chart (see more bar charts):


BirdLife International. (2021). Milvus migrans. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species 2021. Accessed on 1 January 2023

Jeyarajasingam, A., & Pearson, A. (2012). A Field Guide to the Birds of Peninsular Malaysia and Singapore. Oxford University Press.

Robson, C. (2014). Field guide to the birds of South-East Asia (Second Edition). Bloomsbury Publishing, London.