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Swallow-tailed Kite

A medium-sized bird of prey that is known for its distinctive black and white plumage, deeply forked tail, and long, narrow wings. It is found in the Americas, ranging from the southeastern United States to northern Argentina. The Swallow-tailed Kite is a skilled hunter, feeding on small animals such as reptiles, insects, and small mammals that it captures in flight.

Stunning in both shape and plumage, the sight of a Swallow-tailed Kite soaring overhead lingers in the memory long after the observation. Once ranging much more widely, the Swallow-tailed Kite is now limited to southeastern portions of the U.S. during the breeding season, and migrates by day to South America for the winter.

While not actually colonial nesters, Swallow-tailed Kites often nest relatively close to one another, though each pair defends a small area around and above their nest. Storms with high winds can cause young to fall from the nest.


Description of the Swallow-tailed Kite


The Swallow-tailed Kite is unmistakeable.  It has dark bluish-black upperparts, white underparts, and a long, dark, deeply forked tail.

Swallow-tailed Kite


Sexes similar. Tail not as long as males.

Swallow-tailed Kite

Seasonal change in appearance



Juveniles have shorter tails but otherwise resemble adults.

Swallow-tailed Kite


Riparian areas with mature trees.


Insects, frogs, lizards, and small birds.


Forages by swooping or by catching insects in flight.


Breeds along southeastern portions of the U.S. near the Gulf Coast as well as in Mexico. Winters in South America, where resident populations also exist. Populations may be increasing, but much reduced from historic population levels.

Fun Facts

Swallow-tailed Kites are skilled at soaring, but are also capable of very acrobatic flight.

Pairs either form during migration or are maintained during the year, because nesting takes place shortly after arrival on the breeding grounds.


Loud “wheet-wheet-wheet” or “eep” calls are given.

Similar Species

  • The narrow wings, black and white plumage, and deeply forked tail make the Swallow-tailed Kite unmistakable.


The nest is a platform of sticks placed in a tall tree.

Eggs:  2.
Color: White with darker markings.
Incubation and fledging:  
– Young hatch at 28-31 days.
– Young fledge (leave the nest) in 35-42 days after hatching but remain with the adults for some time.

Bent Life History of the Swallow-tailed Kite

Published by the Smithsonian Institution between the 1920s and the 1950s, the Bent life history series of monographs provide an often colorful description of the birds of North America. Arthur Cleveland Bent was the lead author for the series. The Bent series is a great resource and often includes quotes from early American Ornithologists, including Audubon, Townsend, Wilson, Sutton and many others.

Bent Life History for the Swallow-tailed Kite – the common name and sub-species reflect the nomenclature in use at the time the description was written.


This elegant bird seems to have largely withdrawn from its former wide range in North America and is now confined, in this country, mainly, if not wholly, to Florida and perhaps the other Gulf States. I have never seen it anywhere but in southern Florida, where it is still fairly common. Here we may look for its arrival early in March; Harold H. Bailey’s (1925) earliest date is March 3; but Charles J. Pennock tells me that he has seen it at St. Marks as early as February 28. Audubon (1840) says: “In the States of Louisiana and Mississippi, where these birds are abundant, they arrive in large companies, in the beginning of April, and are heard uttering a sharp plaintive note. At this period I generally remarked that they came from the westward, and have counted upwards of a hundred in the space of an hour, passing over me in a direct easterly course.”

I first made my acquaintance with this beautiful species in the Cape Sable region of extreme southern Florida. While crossing the narrow strip of prairie between Flamingo and Alligator Lake, we saw seven of these lovely birds sailing about over the prairie, soaring in circles high overhead, or sealing along close to the ground, like glorified swallows. They seemed to be quartering the ground systematically in the search for prey, for, as they circled, they gradually moved along over new ground. It was a joy to watch their graceful movements and a pity to disturb them, but my companion, the late Louis A. Fuertes, and I both wanted specimens. We concealed ourselves in the long grass and had not long to wait before we had two of the birds down on the ground and five- others hovering over them, after the manner of terns, uttering their weak squealing or whistling notes. We shot no more they were too beautiful; and we were rapt in admiration of their graceful lines, the purity of their contrasting colors, and the beautiful grapelike bloom on their backs and wings, which so soon disappears in museum specimens. I shall never forget the loving reverence with which the noted bird artist admired his specimen, as he began at once to sketch its charms.

Courtship: I have never seen what I was sure was a courtship performance, but apparently this consists of spectacular aerial evolutions. Major Bendire (1892) quotes J. W. Preston as follows:

Of all aerial performances I have ever witnessed, the mating of the Swallowtailed Kite excels. Ever charming and elegant, they outdo themselves at this season. In the spring of 1886 they chose as their mating ground an open space over the mouth of an Ice-cold brook that made its way out from a dark tangled larch swamp. From my boat on the lake I had an excellent view of them. All the afternoon seven of these matchless objects sported, chasing each other here and there, far and near, sailing along in easy curves, floating, falling, and rising, then darting with meteor-like swiftness, commingling and separating with an abandon and airy ease that Is difficult to imagine.

Col. N. S. Goss (1891) says: “I once saw a pair of these birds in the act of copulation. They were sitting on a small, horizontal limb, close together and facing each other, when, quick as a flash, the female turned or backed under the limb, the male meeting her from the top.”

Nesting: Much has been written about the nesting habits of the swallow-tailed kite in various parts of the country. In Florida its favorite nesting sites are in the tall, slender, Cuban pines near cypress swamps. The nests are seldom found very far from the cypresses and are sometimes placed in the tops of these trees. The kites are quite dependent on the long Spanish moss for nest building, and H. H. Bailey told me that recent hurricanes in extreme southern Florida have destroyed so much of this moss that the kites have largely moved away from certain sections. Dr. W. L. Ralph, who had considerable experience with these kites in Florida, sent the following notes to Major Bendire (1892) “They usually commence laying about the middle of April, and I have found them sitting on their nests from that time until the 1st of June, the latter being the latest date I have ever remained in Florida. Most of them have their eggs laid by the middle of May. As nearly as I could judge, about three-fourths of the nests of this species found by me were about the same distance above the ground, i. e., they were 90 feet, and the remainder from a little above that height to 125 or 130 feet.”

He describes a typical nest as follows:

It was situated 90 feet above the ground in, or rather on, the top of a very slender pine tree growing on the edge of a cypress swamp. The trunk of this tree at a height of 5 feet above the ground was not more than 15 inches in diameter, and at the place where my climber stood, as he took the eggs, it was less than 3 inches, while the limbs he stood on were only about an inch thick. The nest was composed of large twigs thickly covered with Spanish moss (Tilandsia u8neo~des) and long moss (Usnea barbata), lined with the same materials, with the addition of a few feathers from the birds. It measured 20 inches in length, 15 inches in width, and 12 inches in depth on the outside, and 6 inches in diameter by 4 inches deep on the inside. S * S The Swallow-tailed Kite has a peculiar way of leaving its nest, for instead of flying directly from one side, as other birds do, it nearly always rises straight up for a short distance first, as If it were pushed up with a spring, and, when about to alight on its nest, it will poise itself a short distance above its eggs and then gradually lower itself down on to them. When they are thus poised above their nests there is scarcely a perceptible movement of their wings, and they often lower themselves so gradually that one can hardly tell when they have reached their eggs.

Bendire (1892) quotes J. XV. rreston as follows:

Nesting materials (twigs and moss) are carried by the female in her talons, the male following close, and going on the nest to arrange them. Days, and rometimes even weeks, are required to suitably complete the structure. Durii g this time they work in the morning and fly over the lakes and woods in the afternoon. The nest Is usually built on the foundation of an old one of a previous year. The female does not alight to secure nesting materials, but snatches them while in full flight. Once, while standing in a larch swamp, a Kite dashed by me and took up a small twig, heavily draped with usnee, and proudly soared out over the woods with it.

Colonel Goss (1891) watched a pair building a nest in the top of a large hickory tree, and says: “When either came to the nest alone with a stick, it would place it hurriedly upon the nest, but when both met at the nest they would at once commence fussing about, pulling at the sticks and trying to arrange the material, first one getting upon the nest and then the other, turning around as if trying to fit a place for the bodies. I think at one time they must have worked at least ten minutes trying to weave in or place in a satisfactory manner a stripping from the inner bark of the cottonwood. As builders they are not a success.”

In Texas these kites sometimes nest in tall pines, but oftener in the tops of the largest and loftiest deciduous trees, such as cottonwoods, elms, sycamores, pin oaks, cypresses, or pecans, along the banks of streams or in the river bottoms. The nests are often 100 to 150 feet above the ground, seldom less than 60, and placed among the slender topmost branches, concealed in the thick foliage; occasionally a nest is placed far out on a horizontal limb.

G. B. Benners (1889) mentions a nest that was over 200 feet from the ground in a giant cottonwood. He describes another nest as follows:

It is about one foot wide by two feet long, and four inches deep (or high), perfectly flat on top, with just the least depression in the middle to hold the eggs. Composed of a harsh green moss with a little Spanish moss among it, and with a mass of small twigs mixed in among the moss. These twigs must have the moss growing on them, for I saw several Kites carrying twigs with moss hanging from them, during our trip. The nest is just a platform, and what keeps the eggs from rolling out during the high wind, when the bird is not on, I cannot see. All the other nests we saw were of the same description, with the exception of one, which was composed wholly of Spanish moss. As the trees were all covered with this moss it was very hard indeed to see the nests.

J. W. Preston (1886) records the nesting of this kite in the wilderness of Becker County, Minn., and says of the locality: “Somewhere back from the shores of one of these lakes, where the rich flat land had sent up a heavy growth of basswood, elm and balsam, and the higher ground was covered with poplar, sugar tree and birch, a pair of Swallow-tailed Kites (Elanoides forficatue) had chosen a nesting place.” The nest was finally found, after much watching, in the extreme top of a tall white birch, “whose greatest diameter was less than twelve inches, with scarcely a dozen branches, and these close to the nest, which was borne fifty feet upwards, and swayed by the slightest breeze.” He says of the nest:

The nest consisted of small, dead larch branches, thickly interwoven with a long, fine moss, or lichen, found in great abundance on the larch everywhere in that region. This substance also formed a soft lining to the deep, wellshaped structure. In the nest were over two hundred separate pieces, which had been carried, one at a time, from a marsh a mile distant. It therefore required the travelling of four hundred miles to do the work; and there were certainly as many pieces strewn upon the ground as appeared in the nest. The birds also made long circuits while about the nest and at the swamp, where the material was gathered, so that no less than eight hundred miles must have been traversed while constructing the nest.

The swallow-tailed kite seems to have disappeared entirely from the northern portions of its breeding range during recent years. Dr. Thomas S. Roberts (1919) says: “The seemingly almost complete disappearance of this beautiful and once frequent bird is difficult to understand.”

All observers seem to agree that the swallow-tailed kite is a very bold and aggressive bird in the defense of its nest. In many cases the birds have attacked the climber, diving at him repeatedly, dashing through the branches above him, and threatening to strike him, all of which is quite disconcerting while he is clinging to the slender, swaying treetop. Evidently the collector of a set of eggs earns his prize.

Eggs: The swallow-tailed kite lays usually two eggs, sometimes three; four eggs have been reported and may occasionally occur, but the larger numbers reported were doubtless errors. They are rounded-ovate or nearly oval in shape; the shell is smooth and not glossy. The ground color is white or creamy white. They are usually boldly and irregularly, sometimes heavily, blotched or spotted, the markings often concentrated at one end; sometimes they are more evenly spotted and rarely finely or sparingly marked with fine dots. The usual colors of the markings are dark browns, “bone brown” to “liver brown”; but they often are brighter browns, “chestnut” or “Kaiser brown”, or “ocbraceous-tawny.”

Occasionally a few small shell markings of light lavender are seen. The measurements of 50 eggs average 40.7 by 37.4 millimeters; the eggs showing the four extremes measure 50 by 39, 49.3 by 39.5, and 41.9 by 34.5 millimeters.

Young: The incubation period for this species does not seem to be definitely known, but for other kites it is said to be from 21 to 24 days. Both parents share the duties of incubation and care of the young. Beyond the fact that they are very devoted and will fiercely defend their offspring, very little seems to be known ~ibout their home life.

Plumages: I have seen but two rather large nestlings of the swallow-tailed kite. The smaller one, largely downy, was covered with short, thick, white down, faintly tinged with yellowish, and glossy black feathers were sprouting in the wings and tail. In the larger bird the back was well covered with black feathers, narrowly edged with white; “cinnamon-buff” or buffy-white feathers were appearing on the breast, belly, crown, and hind neck.

I have not seen a fully grown young bird in fresh juvenal plumage, but older birds in summer have lost the white edgings on the mantle and the buff colors on the under parts, probably by wear and fading; but August birds still have the dusky shaft streaks on the crown and breast, which gradually fade and probably disappear at the fall molt; in this plumage the mantle is browner than in adults, with greenish rather than purplish reflections, and the grapelike bloom is lacking; the wing and tail feathers and the primary coverts are narrowly tipped with white.

I have been unable to find any molt of the flight feathers in August birds (5 examined) and infer that this molt is accomplished after the birds leave for the south.

Food: The food of the swallow-tailed kite consists mainly of small reptiles, amphibians, and insects. Dr. A. K. Fisher (1893) says that “it never molests small mammals and birds”; and some other observers agree with him. But George Finlay Simmons (1925) includes in its food “field mice, young Western Mockingbirds and Texas Painted Buntings which it takes on the wing from nests in mesquite growth.”ï On the whole its food habits are neither beneficial nor particularly harmful. Its food includes small snakes, for which it is often called “snake hawk”, lizards, frogs, and tree toads. It feeds very largely on grasshoppers, locusts, crickets, cicadas, beetles of various kinds, bees, wasp grubs, dragonflies, cotton wornis, and various other insects. Practically all its food is procured on the wing and eaten while flying. Audubon (1~4O) says:

They dive In rapid succession amongst the branches, glancing along the trunks, and seizing in their course the insects and small lizards of which they are In quest. Their motions are astonishingly rapid, and the (leep curves which they describe, their sudden doublings and crossings, and the extreme ease with which they seem to cleave the air, excite the admiration of him who views them while thus employed in searching for food. In calm and warm ~veather, they soar to an immense height, pursuing the large insects called Musquito Hawks, and performing the most singular evolutions that can be conceived, using their tail with an elegance of motion peculiar to themselves. Their principal food, however, is large grasshoppers, grass-caterpillars, small snakes, lizards, and frogs. They sweep close over the fields, sometimes seeming to alight for a moment to secure a snake, and holding it fast by the neck, carry It off, and devour It in the air. * ï *

The Fork-tailed Hawks are also very fond of frequenting the creeks, which, In that country, are much encumbered with drifted logs and accumulations of sand, in order to pick up some of the numerous water-snakes which lIe basking in the sun. At other’ times, they dash along the trunks of trees, and snap off the pupae of the locust, or that insect Itself. Although when on wing they move with a grace and ease which It is Impossible to describe, yet on the ground they are scarcely able to walk.

Baird, Brewer, and Ridgway (1905) write:

One was noticed as it was hunting after grasshoppers. It went over the ground as carefully as a well-trained pointer, every now and then stopping to pick up a grasshopper, the feet and bill seeming to touch the insect simultaneously. They were very fond of wasp grubs, and would carry a nest to a high perch, hold it in one claw, and sit there picking out the grubs.

Mr. B. Owen, while travelling from Coban to San Geronimo, in Guatemala, among the mountains, came suddenly upon a large flock of two or three hundred of these Hawks, which were pursuing and preying upon a swarm of bees. At times they passed within four or five yards of him. Every now and then the neck was observed to be bent slowly and gracefully, bringing the head quite under the body. At the same time the foot, with the talons contracted as if grasping some object, would be brought forward to meet the beak. The beak was then seen to open and to close again, and then the head was again raised and the foot thrown back. This movement was repeatedly observed, and It was quite clear to him that the birds were preying upon the bees.

Behavior: The flight of the condor or the eagle may be grand, majestic, but the flight of the swallow-tailed kite is beautiful in the extreme, unsurpassed in grace and elegance. Coues (1874), in his usual matchless style, describes it as follows:

Marked among its kind by no ordinary beauty of form and brilliancy of color, the Kite courses through the air with a grace and buoyancy It would be vain to rival. By a stroke of the thin-bladed wings and a lashing of the cleft tail, its flight is swayed to this or that side in a moment, or instantly arrested. Now it swoops with incredible swiftness, seizes without a pause, and bears its struggling captive aloft, feeding from Its talons as It flies; now It mounts In airy circles till it Is a speck in the blue ether and disappears. All its actions, in wantonness or in severity of the chase, display the dash of the athletic bird, which, If lacking the brute strength and brutal ferocity of some, becomes their peer In prowess: like the trained gymnast, whose tight-strung thews, supple joints, and swelling muscles, under marvellous control, enable him to execute feats that to the more massive or not so well conditioned frame would be Impossible. One cannot watch the flight of the Kite without comparing It with the thorough-bred racer.

Ilolt and Sutton (1926) write: “That this kite is playful, or mischievous, was obvious. Once a pelican flew slowly along under a soaring kite. The kite swooped down at the pelican and nagged the big clumsy creature for half a mile, crying loudly the while in a high voice, kii-ki-ki. Again, when a Barred Owl was flushed from a thicket, two kites slashed furiously down at the owl, crying loudly, and clearly intent on driving the creature away.

Donald J. Nicholson (1928a) relates the following:

On several occasions I had the privilege of witnessing at close range the bird taking a bath and a cooling drink from a deep pool hidden In a big cypress swamp. I was sitting under the shade of an oak, eating my lunch, when I saw a Kite come sailing around over the lake, finally coming down lower and lower. Satisfying itself that no harm was near, it swooped down to the surface and merely brushed its belly in the water for several yards, as if wishing to cool off; it was prohably a setting bird. It then rose, circled about, and again swooped down, this time trailing Its entire underparts and long tail In the water, taking a drink by dipping its hill in the lake. This was repeated six or eight more times with variations; sometimes merely trailing Its body and tail feathers and not drinking, or doing both at the same time. After about ten minutes, the bird circled high, shook itself, folding its wings as it did so, dropped several feet, and then sailed from sight.

Voice: I recorded the cries of distress or anxiety over fallen companions as weak, squealing, or whistling notes. Bendire (1892) says: “Their call notes are a shrill keen ‘e-e-e,’ or ‘we-we-we,’ uttered in a high key, which is very piercing and may be heard at a great distance.” When several are flying together they have been heard to give soft twittering notes. Mr. Nicholson refer~ to their notes as “shrill, sweet cries, sounding like peat, peat, peat.”

Field marks: The white head, neck, and underparts, the black wings and back, and the long, forked, black tail are ulimistakable. But, above all, the graceful, swallowlike flight makes the bird recognizable as far as it can be seen. It need never be mistaken for anything else.

Fall: Most observers record the swallow-tailed kite as a summer resident in the United States, departing in August or September for its winter home in Central or South America. It often occurs in large flocks while migrating. There are, however, some late fall and winter records for even the northern portion of its former range. D. H. Talbot (1882) saw a flock of ~O or more near Bismarck, N. Dak., on November 17, 1881. And Dr. Elliott Coues (1878) was informed by Dr. C. E. McChesney of the presence of this kite at Fort Sisseton, Dakota, during nearly the whole of the previous winter.

Range: The United States east of the Rocky Mountains, south to Argentina. Casual in the Northern States and in southern Canada; accidental in Great Britain. Now practically extirpated from the northern part of its range.

Breeding range: The breeding range of the swallow-tailed kite has extended north to probably formerly Nebraska (Doss and London) ; formerly Minnesota (Lake Minnetonka) ; formerly Wisconsin (Fort Atkinson and Racine); probably formerly Ohio (Portage and Stark Counties) ; and North Carolina (Lake Ellis). East to North Carolina (Lake Ellis); South Carolina (Chester and Charleston) ; Georgia (Marshallville and probably St. Marys) Florida (Palatka, San Mateo, Orlando, Lake Gentry, St. Johns Prairie, probably Lake Worth, and Miami); probably Cuba (Habana, Bahia, and Cienega Oriental de Zapata); probably occasionally the Lesser Antilles (St. Bartholomew and Trinidad) British Guiana (Waini River, Georgetown, and Aremu River); Brazil (Para, Capim River, Bahia, Cantagallo, and Pirahy) ; and Argentina (Territory of Misiones and Buenos Aires). South to Argentina (Buenos Aires) and southern Bolivia (Chiquitos). West to Bolivia (Chiquitos) ; Peru (Chamicuros and Iluallaga River); Ecuador (Santo Domingo de los Colorados and Bucay); Colombia (Nechi, Bucaramanga, and Cali); Costa Rica (San Jose and Naranjo) ; Nicaragua (Escondido River and Chontales); Guatemala (Coban) ; Jalapa; Nuevo Leon (Saltillo) ; Texas (San Antonio, Austin, Waco, formerly Decatur, and Gainesville); Oklahoma (Caddo); Kansas (Neosho Falls, Topeka, and probably Manhattan); and probably formerly Nebraska (Doss).

The range as above outlined is for the entire species. The South American form has been separated as Elanoides f. yetapa, but the area of demarcation or intergradation between the two races, though believed to be in Costa Rica, is at present imperfectly known.

Winter range: During the winter season the swallow-tailed kite withdraws almost entirely from the United States, although a few are reported to winter in southern Florida (IHarney River). The distance that the northern form goes southward at this season is not yet known, but a specimen from Bucay, Ecuador, taken in December, is referable to this race.

Cones (1878) quoted a report to him that some were seen almost all the winter of 1877: 78 at Fort Sisseton, Dakota.

Spring migration: Early dates of arrival are: Florida: Titusville, March 1; Pensacola, March 8; St. Marks, March 11; and Royal Palm Hammock, March 13. Georgia: Cumberland, April 4. South Carolina: Mount Pleasant, March 19. Mississippi: Biloxi, March 18. Louisiana: New Orleans, March 23; and Holden, April 5. Missouri: Bolton, April 10; and Warrensburg, April 15. Texas: Nunnsville, February 1; Giddings, February 13; Corpus Christi, March 12; and Gainesville, March 21. Oklahoma: Caddo, April 1. Kansas: Richmond, April 15; and Neosho Falls, April 27. Nebraska: Vesta, April 3.

Fall migration: Late dates of fall departure are: lowa: Grinnell, September 16; and Hillsboro, September 24. Missouri: Courtney, September 4; and St. Louis, September 15. Texas: Corpus Christi, September 1; and Tivoli, September 2. Mississippi: Bay St. Louis, September 7.

Casual records: The swallow-tailed kite has been recorded outside of its normal range on numerous occasions. Among these are the following: Virginia, one at Aylett, on August 31, 1895; Maryland, one taken at Ellicott City, on August 7, 1879, and one taken in Montgomery County, August 3, 1895; District of Columbia, one seen at the Virginia end of the Aqueduct Bridge, on April 11, 1897 (Bartsch) ; Pennsylvania, one taken near Philadelphia, April 4, 1791, and another in 1857, one captured at Olney in the spring of 1888, and one taken at Jerseytown, August 8, 1894; New Jersey, one taken about 1872 at Chatham (Herrick) and one seen at Morristown, September 18, 1887; New York, one at Raynor South in 1837, one about 1845 on the south shore of Long Island, one shot at Pittstown, on July 17, 1886, one seen at Stephentown on April 10, 1895, and another recorded on August 22, 1900, from Piermont; Connecticut, one seen July 2, 1877, at Lyme, another noted near Portland during the summer of 1861, while a third was recorded from Saybrook on June 16, 1889; Massachusetts, one taken at West Newbury about September 25, 1882, one seen near Northampton in 1880, while sometime prior to 1870 one was seen at Whately; Vermont, one seen at Waitsfield on April 26, 1913; New Hampshire, one recorded from Franklin in 1875; Ontario, one seen at Port Sydney on July 15, 1897, and Macoun (1903) records one seen at Ottawa prior to 1881, while Fleming (1907) records one from London “said to have been taken [there] many years ago”; Michigan, one taken near Detroit in the summer of 1881, one killed at Saline, on September 15, 1880, two obtained at Petersburg, on June 19, 1882, one taken at Ann Arbor on October 4, 1924, and another the same day near Ypsilanti; South Dakota, one shot several years ago near Vermillion, according to S. S. Visher (letter, 1912) ; North Dakota, in addition to the winter record of Cones, about 50 were reported near Jamestown between November 14 and 17, 1881 (Talbot, 1882) ; Manitoba, Seton (1908) reports that two were taken near Winnipeg in 1889 and 1892; Saskatchewan, while the species has been reported from this province, Mitchell (1924) considers the records as doubtful; New Mexico, one reported from the Capitan Mountains on July 10, 1903, one taken at Carlsbad about 1907, while a third was obtained at Cantonment Burgwyn about August 5, 1859; and Colorado, one shot in August 1877 in Manitou Park.

Swallow-tailed kites have been on a few occasions recorded from Great Britain as follows: One in 1772 at Balachulish, Argyllshire; one on September 6, 1805, at Shawgill, Cumberland; one in the summer of 1833 at Farnham, Surrey; one shot in June 1853 on the Mersey River; and probably another taken in April 1853 at Eskdale, Cumberland (Dalgleish, 1880).

Egg dates: Texas to Florida: 81 records, March 10 to May 18; 41 records, April 7 to 26. Iowa: June 3.

About the Author

Sam Crowe

Sam is the founder of He has been birding for over 30 years and has a world list of over 2000 species. He has served as treasurer of the Texas Ornithological Society, Sanctuary Chair of Dallas Audubon, Editor of the Cornell Lab of Ornithology's "All About Birds" web site and as a contributing editor for Birding Business magazine. Many of his photographs and videos can be found on the site.

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