Black-shouldered Kite

Black-shouldered Kite
Elanus notatus

(Birds of Drouin booklet P52)


Size 330-380mm

Sexes are similar. Head and neck are white. Eye is orange-red. Black bill. Upperparts are grey. Primary wing feathers are grey. ‘Shoulder’ feathers are black. Belly is white. Feet are yellow.


Rapid, repeated ‘chip-chip-chip’. Sometimes a ‘kair-kair’.



Widespread throughout the continent. Dispersive, uncommon-common.

(Map credit:


Builds a stick nest in the canopy of a large tree. The Black-shouldered Kite will breed from April to October.


An elegant raptor species that hunts mainly just after dawn or before dusk. The kite sits on a bare ‘lookout’ branch and flies out over its feeding grounds in search of prey – rodents, reptiles, insects and frogs. Black-shouldered Kites are often seen hovering over roadside drains and paddocks before dropping straight down onto their victims.