Types Of Kites Birds

Last Updated on April 12, 2023 by

Kites are birds of prey that have long, narrow wings and forked tails. They’ve been admired by humans since early times for their graceful flight and acrobatic hunting techniques.

There are many different types of kites in the world, each with its own unique characteristics. Kites fall into several taxonomic categories within the family Accipitridae including Elaninae subfamily – true kites; Milvinae subfamily – sea eagles, harriers, buzzards; Perninae subfamily – honey-buzzards; Gypaetinae subfamily – vultures; Buteoninae subfamily – hawks and eagle-like hawks; and Circaetinae subfamily – snake eagles.

Let’s take a closer look at what sets them apart!

Elaninae Subfamily – True Kites

The Elaninae subfamily of birds, known as true kites, are a group of raptors characterized by their long wings and forked tails. These birds have strong muscles in the breast that allow them to soar through the air with ease, seeking out prey from high altitudes. True kites inhabit many countries around the world and can often be seen flying gracefully above fields or open water. They feed on small mammals, reptiles, insects, fish, and carrion.

True kites typically build nests high up in trees where they lay one to three eggs per clutch which hatch after about thirty days. After hatching, young chicks remain dependent upon their parents until they reach maturity at six months old.

Now that we’ve looked at true kites it’s time to move onto another type of bird within this family: milvinae subfamily – sea eagles, harriers, buzzards.

Milvinae Subfamily – Sea Eagles, Harriers, Buzzards

I’d like to talk about the Milvinae Subfamily – Sea Eagles, Harriers, and Buzzards – and their characteristics, such as their plumage, diet, habitat, and nesting. I’m also interested in discussing their migration, behavior, conservation, adaptations, reproduction, predators, feeding habits, and lifespan. Let’s dive in!

Sea Eagles

For those interested in the Milvinae Subfamily, sea eagles are an incredibly interesting type of bird.

Also known as fish eagles or coastal eagles, these birds have a wingspan that can reach up to 8 feet and they live near rivers, lakes and coasts.

They feed primarily on fish but also eat other aquatic animals like crabs, reptiles and amphibians.

These large raptors sometimes hunt in pairs by flying low over water and snatching unsuspecting prey with their talons.

Sea Eagles are found across the world in diverse habitats including areas of Europe, Africa, Asia and Australia – truly fascinating creatures!


Next up in the Milvinae Subfamily are Harriers. These small raptors have long wings, short tails and a distinctive pattern of flight which makes them easily recognizable.

They feed primarily on rodents, reptiles, amphibians and insects but also scavenge for carrion when available.

While some species live in forests or woodlands, others prefer wetlands such as marshes or wet meadows.

The Northern Harrier is particularly common throughout much of North America while Hen Harriers live across Europe, Asia and Africa.

So if you’re looking to spot one of these unique birds, be sure to keep an eye out!


Now it’s time to move on to Buzzards, the third and final group of birds in the Milvinae Subfamily.

These large raptors have broad wings, long tails, and a slow flight pattern that makes them easy to spot.

Their diet consists mostly of carrion but they also feed on small mammals, reptiles and amphibians when available.

Buzzards are found across Europe, Asia and Africa but some species such as Red Kites can sometimes be seen in North America too.

So if you’re looking for one of these majestic birds keep an eye out – you never know what you might find!

Perninae Subfamily – Honey-Buzzards

The Perninae subfamily, or Honey-Buzzards, are a group of birds with some distinctive characteristics. They have long wings and short tails that make them very agile in the air. Their feathers often have a metallic sheen, making them stand out from other types of kites.

Here are some interesting facts about these fascinating creatures:

  • Honey-Buzzards are known for their aerial acrobatics when hunting insects on the wing.
  • These birds build large stick nests in trees which can weigh up to 4kgs!
  • The genus Aviceda is found across much of Africa, Asia, Australia and New Guinea.
  • One species, Gurney’s Eagle (Aquila gurneyi), is considered critically endangered due to habitat destruction and population decline.

Honey Buzzards showcase an impressive combination of agility and adaptation as they soar through our skies. With conservation efforts underway, there’s hope that this unique family of birds will be able to thrive once again.

As we turn our attention now towards another type of bird within the Accipitridae family — the Gypaetinae Subfamily – Vultures — let us take a moment to appreciate their remarkable beauty and resilience in nature.

Gypaetinae Subfamily – Vultures

The Perninae subfamily was known for its aerial acrobatics, and the Honey-Buzzards were no exception. With their long tails and wingspans of up to two feet, these birds could be seen soaring through the sky with incredible grace.

Now, it’s time to turn our attention to another type of kite bird; this one a bit bigger than the Honey-Buzzard: The Gypaetinae Subfamily – Vultures. Unlike Honey-Buzzards which are sleek and agile in flight, vultures have wide wings that allow them to catch thermals without having to flap too much. These large birds reach heights of over five feet when fully extended but can often be spotted just sitting on the ground or perched atop a tree.

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Despite their size they usually prefer scavenging carrion rather than hunting prey themselves, although some do hunt reptiles and small mammals too. Their powerful claws also make them quite adept at ripping into tough hides or shells such as those of tortoises and armadillos.

After taking in all we’ve learned about both the Perninae Subfamily – Honey Buzzards, and Gypaetinae Subfamily – Vultures, it’s time now to explore another group of raptors: Buteoninae Subfamily – Hawks & Eagle-like hawks.

Buteoninae Subfamily – Hawks And Eagle-Like Hawks

The Buteoninae subfamily of kites includes hawks and eagle-like birds. These birds are medium to large in size, with long wings that help them soar through the air easily. They have powerful talons for catching their prey and a sharp hooked beak for tearing apart meat.

Their adaptations include:

  1. Sharp eyesight allowing them to spot small animals from far away

  2. Long wingspan enabling them to quickly change direction while flying

  3. Short legs aiding in quick takeoffs and landings

These features make these predatory birds well equipped for hunting effectively as they soar across open fields or dense forests looking for food. Their diet consists mainly of small mammals such as mice, rabbits, squirrels, rats, lizards, snakes, frogs and even other smaller bird species.

With these attributes combined they can successfully hunt out their prey making them an efficient hunter in the wild. From soaring high above searching the ground below to swooping down on unsuspecting victims they are truly remarkable hunters of the skies.

Transitioning into the next section we will examine another group within this family; Circaetinae subfamily – snake eagles which have adapted many unique traits in order to survive in their environment.

Circaetinae Subfamily – Snake Eagles

The Circaetinae subfamily of kites and birds, also known as Snake Eagles, are a group of aerial predators found throughout tropical and subtropical regions. These species typically have long legs, large wingspans, and short tails which help them maneuver over their prey while they hunt. They mostly feed on small snakes or other reptiles that can be caught in flight. The Hawk-Eagle is the best-known member of this family and can reach up to nearly two feet in length.

These raptors are generally solitary hunters with strong eyesight enabling them to spot even the smallest potential prey from high above. Their impressive hunting skills make them excellent at catching insects or rodents on the ground too.

Though they’re skilled hunters, these eagles prefer not to take part in direct conflict when it comes to defending their territories; instead relying more on vocal displays and posturing to scare away intruders.

With such an incredible combination of speed, agility, and hunting prowess, these fascinating creatures remain one of nature’s most awe-inspiring sights. Transitioning into the next section about physical characteristics, we’ll explore how exactly these snake eagles look and behave in greater detail.

Physical Characteristics

Kites are birds that come in various sizes, shapes and colors. Depending on the species, they may have long or short tails with forked tips, wide wingspans and pointed heads. Their feathers can be colorful and vary from soft gray to bright blue and yellow.

Kites typically feed by soaring high above the ground and then diving suddenly to snatch prey from other animals or from plants. They usually hunt alone but sometimes a group of kites will work together to capture their food. They also benefit from scavenging carrion left behind by larger predators.

When not hunting for food, kites spend much of their time perched atop trees or poles surveying the area below them for potential meals. As their eyesight is very sharp, they use this skill to locate prey while flying at higher altitudes. This transition allows them to conserve energy during flight which helps them remain airborne longer periods of time as they search for food sources below.

With this heightened vision, kites are able to quickly spot small rodents scurrying across open fields or fish swimming near the surface of rivers or lakes. Moving into the next section about hunting and feeding habits…

Hunting And Feeding Habits

The physical characteristics of kites are varied, and they range in size from the large White-tailed Kite to the tiny Black-shouldered Kite. Most species have long wings, a forked tail, and a hooked beak that helps them catch their prey. They also tend to possess keen eyesight, allowing them to spot potential meals from high in the sky.

Kites hunt mainly during the day, searching out small animals such as lizards or rodents on land or aquatic creatures like fish when they’re near water. Insects and carrion can also provide sustenance if needed. In addition to these foods, kites will sometimes eat fruit, grains, and even other birds’ eggs during breeding season.

Although they typically search alone for food, some species may form flocks while hunting together. With this abundance of options available, kites rarely go hungry.

As their next step on their journey across different environments, let’s explore how habitat and distribution affects these remarkable birds.

Habitat And Distribution

Kites birds soar majestically through the air, inspiring awe and wonder in all who observe them. They are found inhabiting a wide range of habitats across much of the globe:

  • In Europe:

  • From Scandinavia to Turkey

  • Across Russia and Ukraine

  • In Asia:

  • China, India and Japan

  • Southeast Asian countries such as Thailand and Vietnam

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The kite bird is an adaptable species which can be seen nesting on coasts, marshlands, riverbanks or even urban areas. Its diet consists mostly of insects, but they also make use of small mammals, amphibians and reptiles when available.

Their presence has been known to benefit local ecosystems by controlling insect populations while providing food for other predators like hawks. Humans too have benefitted from their presence, with some cultures using them as messengers or harnessing their power in kite surfing activities.

Kites birds continue to captivate us with their graceful flight and impressive adaptation skills that enable them to survive in diverse environments around the world.

Frequently Asked Questions

What Is The Average Wingspan Of Kite Birds?

Kite birds have an average wingspan of around 3-4 feet. They are known for their long, slender wings and graceful flight patterns.

Their beauty is part of what makes them so popular among birdwatchers and nature enthusiasts. Kites can be found in a variety of habitats, from open fields to dense forests.

They feed on a wide range of insects, small mammals and even other birds. The size and shape of the kite’s wings vary depending on which species it belongs to, but all share the unique ability to soar high above the ground with ease.

What Is The Typical Lifespan Of A Kite Bird?

It’s common knowledge that birds have a unique beauty and grace, but many people don’t realize just how long their lives can be.

When it comes to the typical lifespan of a kite bird, these majestic creatures can live for up to 20 years in the wild!

This is much longer than many other types of birds, making them an attractive option for bird watchers who want to watch their favorite feathered friends over time.

The fact that they are able to experience such longevity makes them even more special and revered by nature lovers everywhere.

What Type Of Prey Do Kite Birds Typically Hunt?

Kite birds are a type of bird that typically hunt prey such as insects, small rodents and reptiles.

They have sharp talons which they use to grasp their victims before devouring them.

Kites often fly high in the sky where they can easily spot potential targets below.

Once they identify an area with plenty of food sources, they will swoop down to capture their next meal.

Some kites even work together in groups to increase their chances of success when hunting.

What Other Species Of Birds Do Kite Birds Commonly Interact With?

Kite birds are incredibly social creatures and often interact with a variety of other species of birds.

In fact, according to research conducted by the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds (RSPB), kites have been seen interacting with up to 25 different species of birds in one area!

These interactions can be anything from flying together, sharing food sources or simply perching side-by-side on nearby branches.

Common bird companions include crows, gulls, starlings and even smaller passerines such as sparrows.

Kite birds also sometimes team up when hunting – making them particularly effective predators against their prey.

Do Kite Birds Have Any Natural Predators?

Kite birds are known for their ability to soar high in the sky, but they do face certain predators.

Many species of hawks and other large birds of prey have been observed preying on kites, usually when they are distracted by finding food or taking care of young chicks.

Large cats like tigers and leopards can also be a threat if they come across an unguarded nest or roosting area.

In some cases, humans may hunt kite birds due to their perceived competition with commercial fishing operations.


It’s clear that Kite Birds are impressive creatures. With their average wingspan of up to three feet, they have the capability to soar through the air with ease.

The typical lifespan for a kite bird is around 15-20 years and during this time, they hunt for small prey such as insects and lizards.

Not only do Kite Birds interact with other species of birds in their habitats, but they also face potential predators like hawks or eagles who may try to steal their food away.

The truth of this theory has been investigated thoroughly throughout this article and it’s obvious that these majestic birds deserve our attention and protection.

We must be aware when we venture outdoors so as not to disturb them while they search for their next meal or take flight across vast landscapes.

As humans, it’s important that we appreciate nature’s beauty by observing the gracefulness of these winged creatures from afar and protect their environments so future generations can enjoy them too.

Kite Birds are beautiful examples of nature’s creations that should be respected and admired at all times.

By being mindful of our impact on the planet, we can help ensure that these wonderful animals remain part of our world for many more years to come!

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