Fun Mississippi Kite Facts For Kids

Oluwatosin Michael
Jan 14, 2023 By Oluwatosin Michael
Originally Published on Aug 05, 2021
Edited by Natalie Rayworth
Fact-checked by Chandan Shukla
Read Mississippi kite facts and know more about these North American birds.

Have you ever thought about a fascinating bird that mostly flies in the sky and rests sometimes? Then Mississippi kite (Ictinia mississippiensis) facts could engage you with useful information that will help you to understand the Mississippi kite bird. Mississippi kite is a small bird that has wings that are narrow and pointed.

The flight of these birds is very graceful and they often appear to float in the air. Mississippi kites like perching on sturdy hardwood trees.

The diet of Mississippi kites usually consists of small insects that they capture during their flight. During winter, this species migrates to South America. These North American kites breed during May to July.

Mississippi kite (Ictinia mississippiensis) is protected under certain acts which help to protect the birds, eggs, and their nests as well. Mississippi kite birds use different types of habitat throughout their breeding season and keeps changing their habitat accordingly.

Mississippi kites are beautiful birds that are like falcons. The body of the bird is gray in color, and the head of the bird is slightly ashy gray in color.

The number of Mississippi kite birds is large in the central states of Texas, Louisiana, and Oklahoma. They migrate according to the different seasons, and the number of Mississippi kite birds has increased in the last few years.

After reading these facts about Mississippi kite range and nesting, do check out our other articles on falcon and harpy eagle.

Mississippi Kite Interesting Facts

What type of animal is a Mississippi kite?

Mississippi kites are a type of bird. The Mississippi kite is a small bird that belongs to the family of accipitridae.

The body of the bird is slender and they are small raptors that have long, pointed wings. They have tails that are fairly long and square-tipped. The tips of the wings and the tail of the bird are black in color.

Mississippi kites are considered hawks as their wings are broad and rounded, and they chase their prey by using surprise tactics. The female Mississippi kite birds have a shoulder and head that are darker than the males.

What class of animal does a Mississippi kite belong to?

Mississippi kites belong to the class of aves. The head and the neck of the female birds are more vibrant when compared to that of males. The appearance of the juvenile Mississippi birds is different when compared to the adult Mississippi birds. They are known to be social birds as they migrate and also forage in social groups.

How many Mississippi kites are there in the world?

There is no specific data regarding how many Mississippi kites there are in the world as the conservation status of the bird is of the Least Concern and their population keeps increasing.

Where does a Mississippi kite live?

Mississippi kites usually prefer to live in various types of hardwood trees. The birds are seen in different habitats which include agricultural fields, oak savannas, woodlands, and pastures.

The birds keep migrating according to their breeding season and prefer nesting in tall trees. Mississippi kite migration takes them to Texas, Florida, and South America during the winter but rarely are they seen in California.

What is a Mississippi kite's habitat?

Mississippi kites habitat consists of various types of hardwood trees in the tree-lined areas of the southern prairies which also includes windbreaks, parks, urban areas, and shelter breaks. Their habitat also includes agricultural fields, oak savannas, woodlands, and pastures as well. Their habitat keeps changing according to their breeding season.

Who do Mississippi kites live with?

Mississippi kites are known to be social birds and prefer to forage, migrate and also roost in groups. They fly together in the air with their groups following a straight line. They are very well skilled in changing elevations quickly. They use their feet to hold on to their prey while they are in flight.

How long does a Mississippi kite live?

The lifespan of a Mississippi kite is around eight years in the wild. There are different factors involved in determining the lifespan of these birds such as changes in the habitat, environmental factors, surroundings, diet and food, population, their predator, and other factors.

How do they reproduce?

Mississippi kites breed once a year, and this mostly occurs between May to July. The individuals start their mating process at the age of two.

They are monogamous in nature, and they form pairs once they come together at the breeding grounds. There is no courtship that takes place between the male and the female. The male tries to defend the females from other males during the mating season.

They either make a new Mississippi kite nest, or refurbish an old nest. The nest is usually placed high up on the fork of a tree. The hatching of one clutch of eggs takes about 32 days.

The babies will not leave the nest for another 30 to 35 days after hatching. Mississippi kite species that live in urban areas produce more offspring than those living in forests.

What is their conservation status?

The conservation status of Mississippi kites is the Least Concern as their population keeps increasing. Mississippi kites are protected under the Migratory Bird Treaty Act of 1918, this keeps the birds protected and promotes their conservation.

The main objective of the act is to help to protect the birds, their eggs, and their nests from being moved or tampered with without the proper permit.

Mississippi Kite Fun Facts

What do Mississippi kites look like?

Mississippi kites are a species of bird that belongs to the family accipitridae. This species has an inky mix of gray and black, which may sometimes lighten to pale gray or white on the head.

The tips of the wings and the tail of the bird is black in color. The juvenile Mississippi birds are streaky, and their chests are brown, their underwings are also brown, and their tails are banded. Mississippi kites are known for their ability to float in the air.

The color of the plumage is predominantly gray in color. The wings of the birds are pointed and in a tapered pattern. Mississippi kite birds have red eyes with black rings around them, and yellow or red legs.

The coloring of Mississippi kite birds helps distinguish the kites from the other raptors during flight. This is a similar species to a peregrine falcon.

Mississippi Kite flying in the sky

How cute are they?

Mississippi birds are cute in their appearance and look very adorable when they fly together in the air. Birds of this species are social creatures, and their behavior is different when compared to other species, the Mississippi kite can also attack people by dive-bombing anyone who comes near their nests.

They are cute but also aggressive at the same time. Mississippi kite flying is extremely graceful and almost looks like the bird is floating in the air as they hold the wings flat or use extremely fluid wing beats.

How do they communicate?

Mississippi kite hawk birds communicate with each other with the help of using two individual whistle calls, one calls the other one with a two-syllable "phee-phew", and the other one replies with "phee-ti-ti" in order to communicate. These are also referred as Mississippi kite sound and Mississippi kite call.

How big is a Mississippi kite?

Mississippi kite birds are small in size when compared to other species of kites. Baby Mississippi kites are also very small in size.

The Mississippi kite size varies from one bird to another based on their body structure as well as weight. The size of Mississippi kite birds remains the same after this species reach a certain age and does not grow after that.

How fast can a Mississippi kite fly?

There is no accurate data as to how fast a Mississippi kite can fly. They usually fly high in the air, in groups and follow a straight line while flying. Mississippi birds form large flocks when they migrate.

How much does a Mississippi kite weigh?

Mississippi kite birds weigh around 0.47-0.85 lb (0.21-0.38 kg). The weight of the Mississippi bird varies from one bird to another, depending on their food and diet.

What are the male and female names of the species?

There is no specific name for the male and female Mississippi kite birds. They are known as males and females respectively.

What would you call a baby Mississippi kite?

A baby Mississippi kite bird is called a hatchling. They are born without feathers, and are blind, so they depend completely on their parents for their food.

The juvenile Mississippi kite birds are either buff or white in color. The body’s underparts are streaky and come in black or white and their wings and upper body are light black in color.

What do they eat?

Mississippi kites are carnivores so they like to feed on large flying insects and small invertebrates. They eat small insects during flight and vertebrates like small birds, reptiles, amphibians, and also mammals. Mississippi kites eat insects that would otherwise harm crops.

Are they dangerous?

No, these North American birds are not dangerous in behavior. Mississippi kite birds become aggressive during their nesting and breeding season as they are protective when it comes to their nests and chicks. Mississippi kites attack humans by bomb-diving when humans go near their nests.

Would they make a good pet?

No, because these North American birds can attack human beings as they are aggressive in nature. As Mississippi kite birds are protected under the Migratory Bird Treaty Act of 1918, it is illegal to move, capture, hunt, or kill the birds.

Did you know...

Mississippi kites are birds that are small and falcon-shaped birds of prey. Females are larger than the males. The oldest Mississippi kite ever recorded was eleven years old and found in Texas. The adult Mississippi kites are usually mistaken for northern harriers.

The young and immature Mississippi kites are sometimes mistaken for broad-winged hawks and peregrine falcons.

Do Mississippi kites mate for life?

Yes, Mississippi kite birds are monogamous in nature and mate for life with their partners. They form pairs and arrive at the breeding grounds together, the individuals then start breeding at the age of two. Therefore, Mississippi kite birds mate for life and have only one partner with whom they mate and give birth to their offspring.

Is a Mississippi kite a falcon?

Yes, Mississippi kite birds look more like a falcon than any other of the kites. They are intelligent and social creatures who like to live in groups. They fly high up in the air and often end up catching insects on their wing, which is then included in their diet.

Here at Kidadl, we have carefully created lots of interesting family-friendly animal facts for everyone to discover! Learn more about some other birds including hoatzin, or blue grosbeak.

You can even occupy yourself at home by drawing one of our mississippi kite coloring pages.

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Written by Oluwatosin Michael

Bachelor of Science specializing in Microbiology

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Oluwatosin MichaelBachelor of Science specializing in Microbiology

With a Bachelor's in Microbiology from the Federal University of Agriculture, Abeokuta, Ogun State, Oluwatosin has honed his skills as an SEO content writer, editor, and growth manager. He has written articles, conducted extensive research, and optimized content for search engines. His expertise extends to leading link-building efforts and revising onboarding strategies. 

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Fact-checked by Chandan Shukla

Bachelor of Science specializing in Computer Science

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Chandan ShuklaBachelor of Science specializing in Computer Science

With a Bachelor's degree in Computer Science from Aryabhatta College, University of Delhi, Chandan is a skilled and passionate technophile. He has completed a machine learning training program and is adept in various programming languages. He has been working as a content writer for two years while also striving to become a proficient tech professional.

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