Black-winged Kite

Scientific Name: Elanus caeruleus
Malay Name: Helang-Tikus Biasa
Chinese Name: 黑翅鸢

Breeds in India through southern China and continental southeast Asia till Timor. Also present in southwest Europe and Africa.

Polytypic. Subspecies are: caeruleus, vociferus, hypoleucus.

Local Subspecies: vociferus

Size: 31-35 cm

A white raptor with light grey upperparts and black shoulders. The adults have distinct red iris. The Western Osprey has darker greyish-brown upperparts, a distinct thick black eye stripe with longer and more slender looking wings. The White-bellied Sea Eagle is much bigger in general, with a proportionally larger looking bill, and has broader wings. Juvenile Rufous-bellied Eagle is similar with its all white underparts, but has shorter and rounder looking wings.

Similar looking species: Western Osprey, White-bellied Sea Eagle

Habitat: Grasslands and open country.

Behaviour/Ecology: Frequently seen hovering when in search for prey. Nests quite visibly on trees found in open habitat. When the juveniles fledge, the adults are often observed passing food to the young mid-air.

Local Status: Uncommon resident

Conservation Status: Least Concern (BirdLife International 2019)

Location: Sites with extensive open fields and grassland such as Tuas, Kranji, Seletar and Punggol.


External Links:
Conservation Status: IUCN Red List Page
Photos: Oriental Bird Images
Sound Recordings: xeno-canto Link
Wikipedia Entry: Wikipedia Link

BirdLife International. (2019). Elanus caeruleus. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species 2019. Downloaded on 2 September 2021
Kemp, A. C., Kirwan, G. M., Marks, J. S., Motis, A. & Garcia, E. F. J. (2020). Black-winged Kite (Elanus caeruleus), version 1.0. In del Hoyo, J., Elliott, A. Sargatal, J., Christie, D. A., & de Juana, E. (Eds). Birds of the World. Cornell Lab of Ornithology, Ithaca, NY, USA.
Robson, C. (2008). A Field Guide to the Birds of South-East Asia. New Holland Publishers.