Black Kite ( Milvus migrans, family: Accipitridae)

The Black Kite (Latin name Milvus migrans) is described in Roberts Birds of Southern Africa, 7th Edition. This bird has a unique Roberts number of 126 and you will find a full description of this bird on page 479 also a picture of the Black Kite on page 480. The Black Kite belongs to the family of birds classified as Accipitridae. According to the Percy FitzPatrick Institute of African Ornithology the Black Kite is also known by these other names: Kite, Pariah Kite, Yellow-billed Black Kite, South African Kite.

In the previous edition of Roberts (ie 6th edition) the Black Kite was called the . The Robert's 7 Latin name for Black Kite has changed from Milvus [migrans] migrans in Robert's 6 to Milvus migrans.

The map of the Kruger you see on this page shows the areas (coloured orange) where this bird has been identified. The basic information was provided by the Avian Demographic Unit based at UCT and I created the maps from that information ... the green dots show the locations of the various Kruger National Park Rest Camps

The Black Kite is neither Endemic or near Endemic to the Kruger National Park. It is however a rare summer resident

In terms of distribution of the Black Kite in the Kruger National Park you may not see it in all areas. Black Kite : see above distribution map.

Identification assistance for this avian species ...

One of the first indicators to take note of when trying to identify a bird is it relative size. For example how big is the bird compared to a well known familiar bird. The Black Kite is a largish bird about the same size as a Pied Crow. The height of the Black Kite is about 55 cms and its weight is about 450 gms

The male and female Black Kite have the same plumage and colours

  • Head is brown.
  • Eye is grey.
  • Bill is black.
  • Throat is grey.
  • Back is brown, black.
  • Legs are yellow.

This bird has normally proportioned leg length.

Main diet items for this bird ...

The Black Kite feeds on the ground mainly

Smaller animals


Aquatic life forms

Breeding and nesting habits for this bird ...

The Black Kite takes on more than a single mate (it is bigamous).

The nesting habit of Black Kite is to create the nest in branches of a tree or shrub. The bird lays eggs which are brown, red in colour and number between 1 to 3

Habitat and flocking behaviour for this bird ...

The preferred habitats for Black Kite are: woodlands

You will normally see the Black Kite by itself rather than in the company of birds of the same species.

Names of this avian species in other languages ...

Xhosa ... Unknown

Zulu ... Unknown

Afrikaans ...Geelbekwou

German ... Schmarotzermilan

Portuguese ... Milhafre-preto

French ... Milan d'Afrique

Dutch ... Zwarte Wouw

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For in-depth birding information please refer to these authoritative avian references ...

Robert's 7th edition number ... 126

The main reference source for this data was "Roberts - Birds of Southern Africa, 7th Edition" . Other references were "Newmans Birds of the Kruger Park" by Keith Newman published circa 1980 . Names in foreign languages were obtained from the Percy Fitzpatrick Institute of African Ornithology, University of Cape Town website ,