Fun Swallow-tailed Kite Facts For Kids

Divya Raghav
Oct 20, 2022 By Divya Raghav
Originally Published on Aug 05, 2021
Edited by Luca Demetriou
Fact-checked by Shray Sharma
These Swallow-Tailed Kite facts exemplify the beauty of this fine raptor species.

The Swallow-Tailed Kite is an incredibly versatile and buoyant raptor that is known for its brilliant plumage of white with a sharp black contour. These species of birds are not small and so can literally be spotted anywhere in their Southeastern habitat, but mostly over swamps on a sunny day.

The scientific name of the bird Swallow-Tailed Kite, Elanoides forficatus, comes from the ancient Greek language where 'elanos' means 'kite' and 'oides' means 'resembling'. In order Accipitriformes family, the Swallow-Tailed Kite range from Southeastern United States to Peru and the north of Argentina and they migrate to South America during winters.

The Swallow-Tailed Kite (Florida-occurring, among other southeastern states) belongs to the Pernine-raptor category of animals and generally has a high-pitched voice in comparison to other species.

The Swallow-Tailed Kite is also a bird that migrates between the regions of North America, Central, and South America. Swallow-Tailed Kite migration usually takes place during the breeding season in Springtime.

Swallow-Tailed Kites travel miles per day most of the time to reach their destination and search for safe places, usually near waterfront wetlands. According to many wildlife organizations, swallow birds can travel up to 10,000 mi (16,000 km). The tailed kite swallow birds can live for up to six years.

This Swallow-Tailed bird is attractive to people because of its beautiful and pleasing color combination. This North American bird is only found in colors black and white.

The bird's small head and underparts are bright white in color with a dark black back, wingtips, and tail. The flight feathers are black and the wings' linings are white.

The wings are structured in such a way that they help them in covering long distances. It is found that they fold their wings while flying, turning their tail to almost 90 degrees.

They are known as North American Birds usually fall in the category of carnivores and prey on mice, rats, and squirrels, to lizards, snakes, and frogs. The Kite-Tailed Swallow bird also has a unique way of drinking water by skimming the surface and collecting water in its beak to then drink.

Swallow-Tailed Kites are monogamous, which means that they mate with the same partner for their whole life or during every breeding season. They mate once a year between March to May and usually come back to the same place or location of the previous years and redecorate the old nest.

They construct a nest near open woodland on top of the tree. The nest is a platform of small sticks which is constructed by both males and females birds.

The average litter size is 1-3 with an incubation period of 28-31 days. Both parents are responsible for taking care of eggs, and chicks become ready to live independently after 5-6 weeks.

There are 150,000 Swallow-Tailed Kites out in the world today. According to the IUCN red list, Swallow-Tailed Kites are 'Endangered' in many countries. The main threats for these birds are habitat loss and pesticide use by humans.

Do also check out our facts articles on tawny eagle and tawny owl.

Swallow-Tailed Kite Interesting Facts

What type of animal is a Swallow-Tailed Kite?

Swallow-Tailed Kite is a Pernine-raptor type of animal.

What class of animal does a Swallow-Tailed Kite belong to?

Swallow-Tailed Kites belong to the birds (Aves) class of animal.

How many Swallow-Tailed Kites are there in the world?

There are 150,000 Swallow-Tailed Kites in the world.

Where does a Swallow-Tailed Kite live?

Swallow-Tailed Kite lives in wetlands.

What is a Swallow-Tailed Kite's habitat?

Swallow-Tailed Kite breeds live close in American jungles or on coasts from Eastern Texas to Florida and Gulf Coast states. These birds dwell in bogs, swamps, streams, and knolls in the open timberlands.

Who do Swallow-Tailed Kites live with?

Swallow-Tailed Kites (small insect eaters) are social birds. They usually scavenge in groups and are known to frequently perch together, particularly before migration.

How long does a Swallow-Tailed Kite live?

A Swallow-Tailed Kite bird lives for around six years.

How do they reproduce?

Male and female adults approach each other on an even tree appendage. At this stage, the male offers food to the female.

Whenever dazzled, the female will come nearer to the male or curve forward, extending its tail wings, as though permitting it to participate in the demonstration of sex. The male is known to be quite considerate and can be seen carrying around nest materials and food for the breeding female.

What is their conservation status?

The Swallow-Tailed Kite species are recorded as 'Endangered' by South Carolina, marked 'Threatened' in Texas regions, and are recorded as 'Rare' by Georgia.

Swallow-Tailed Kite Fun Facts

What do Swallow-Tailed Kites look like?

Young Swallow-Tailed Kites (a small lizards eater) have a blunt body shading when compared to the grown-ups. Moreover, the young ones don't have a deeply forked tail like the adult raptors.

The male and the female bird seem to be quite similar in appearance, the body is white and black; flight feathers, feet, tail, and bill (which is smaller in size) are all black. Another trademark of this beautiful bird is the prolonged, deeply forked tail at 27.5–37 centimeters long, earning it the name 'Swallow-Tailed' Kite.

How cute are they?

Kite Swallow-Tailed birds are pretty cute in looks, but the sound they make is high-pitched and not very pleasant to hear. That being said, these creatures thrive in the wild and are not keen on being domesticated, so it wouldn't really make a wise choice to keep one as a pet.

How do they communicate?

Every organism has its own way of communicating with its partners and groups, especially in animals. On that note, the Swallow-Tailed Kite (Elanoides Forficatus) communicates through high-pitched cries, short and feeble but piercing whistles, and twitters.

They have a shriller voice in comparison to other birds. They also communicate while on a chase or during mating season apart from protecting their territories.

How big is a Swallow-Tailed Kite?

Kite Swallow-Tailed species is 20-27 in (50-68 cm) long, with a wingspan of approximately 3.7-4.5 ft (1.12-1.36 m). They weigh around 11-21 oz (310-600 g) and have a forked tail that measures 10.8-14.6 in (27.5-37 cm) long, with the wing chord estimates to be about 15-18 in (39-45 cm).

How fast can a Swallow-Tailed Kite fly?

The Tailed Kite-Swallow can fly up to 25 miles (40 km) per hour. They are migratory birds, usually migrating during winters and the breeding season. Sometimes they have to fly for a mile per day in search of food and a place where these birds may live safely away from predators.

How much does a Swallow-Tailed Kite weigh?

Swallow-Tailed Kites are North American birds that weigh up to 310–600 g (10.9–21.1 oz).

What are their male and female names of the species?

There is no specific name for these species. They're simply known as a male Swallow-Tailed Kite or a female Swallow-Tailed Kite.

What would you call a baby Swallow-Tailed Kite?

They are known by many common names like offsprings, infants, chicks, juveniles.

What do they eat?

In order Accipitriformes, family Accipitridae prey on flying insects, tree frogs, lizards, small snakes, and nestling birds. They carry their prey to the nest and usually eat there.

Are they dangerous?

No, these species are not dangerous. They live in moderate temperatures and are not very aggressive. But there is a possibility that they become aggressive when eggs are in their nest and sometimes in an unhygienic environment.

Would they make a good pet?

No, they are cool and very attractive to watch but not considered good pets. They love flying and usually catch their prey while flying and take them back to their perch and eat. They don't prefer living between humans and usually construct their own nest on the top of the trees in open woodland areas.

Did you know...

Before the year 1900, these kites were found in 21 expresses.

Swallow-Tailed Kites can drink while flying. To do this, they must skim low over the waterway while maintaining a steady speed on their trajectory and open their beaks just the right amount. They also make nests on dead trees-regularly 100 feet high from the ground.

Sometimes building their nest on the heights affects them adversely, the spring heatwaves could be fatal to these young birds, while a heavy rainfall could destroy their nest.

The Swallow-Tailed Kite is known to be the most proficient and gymnastic flier of a multitude of raptors.

The symbolism of the Swallow-Tailed Kite

Swallow-Tailed Kites are designated as 'the coolest bird on earth'. They symbolize a need to foster adaptability and versatility. These birds carry messages to utilize our complete ability. Their finely forked tails resemble rudders on a vessel.

Their appearance demonstrates a need to glide through life using a mindset of adaptability and flexibility. Swallow-Tailed Kites drink noticeably all around in a gulping manner. This shows us how to create adaptable and efficient life practices to open up our natural potential to innovate and stay resourceful.

Why is the Swallow-tailed Kite endangered?

There are 150,000 swallow-Tailed Kites in the world. These birds are recorded as endangered in the territory of South Carolina, where the essential danger to them is loss of habitat and pesticide use.

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 secretary bird, or blackburnian warbler.

You can even occupy yourself at home by drawing one on our Swallow-Tailed Kites coloring pages.

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Written by Divya Raghav

Bachelor of Commerce specializing in Accounting and Finance, Master of Business Administration

Divya Raghav picture

Divya RaghavBachelor of Commerce specializing in Accounting and Finance, Master of Business Administration

With a diverse range of experience in finance, administration, and operations, Divya is a diligent worker known for her attention to detail. Born and raised in Bangalore, she completed her Bachelor's in Commerce from Christ University and is now pursuing an MBA at Narsee Monjee Institute of Management Studies, Bangalore. Along with her professional pursuits, Divya has a passion for baking, dancing, and writing content. She is also an avid animal lover who dedicates her time to volunteering for animal welfare causes.

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Fact-checked by Shray Sharma

Bachelor of Technology specializing in Computer Science Engineering

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Shray SharmaBachelor of Technology specializing in Computer Science Engineering

As an aspiring web and app developer, Shray has a passion for working with promising startups. He is currently pursuing a Bachelor's degree in Computer Science from Maharaja Surajmal Institute Of Technology while gaining experience in digital marketing. Shray has already earned a Google Analytics Certification and is well-equipped to handle analytics and data management tasks. He has also served as a marketing manager at Parallax Virtual Arts, where he oversaw the company's social media, content, and SEO strategies. Shray's goal is to create engaging content that resonates with audiences and offers valuable insights.

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