Alice Springs Desert Park

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A medium-sized bird of prey, the Black Kite (Milvus migrans) is an opportunistic hunters, that is more likely to scavenge as they soar and glide effortlessly on the winds in search of food.

Black Kite (Milvus migrans) - Birds of Prey Show, Alice Springs Desert Park
Black Kite – Bird of Prey Show

They have been sighted catching insects on the wing and are attracted to any fires, often seen wheeling above and through the smoke, whilst keeping an eye out ahead of the fire-front for small creatures fleeing the flames.

They appear almost black from a distance, with a light brown bar on the shoulder. The plumage is a dark brown, with light brown and rufous markings, on the head, neck and underparts. They have angled wings and a distinctive forked tail, barred with darker brown. The eyes are dark brown and the bill is black with a yellow cere (area of skin around the nostrils).

Both male and female are similar. The young Black Kites are usually lighter in colour to the adults, with a comparatively shallower forked tail.

Images © Dorothy L


  • Scientific classification
  • Kingdom: Animalia
  • Phylum: Chordata
  • Class: Aves
  • Order: Accipitriformes
  • Family: Accipitridae
  • Genus: Milvus
  • Species: M. migrans
  • Binomial name: Milvus migrans
Whistling Kite and Black Kite - Birds of Prey Show, Alice Springs Desert Park
Whistling Kite and Black Kite – Birds of Prey Show, Alice Springs Desert Park

Footnote & References

  1. Black Kite, Australian Museum, https://australian.museum/learn/animals/birds/black-kite/
  2. Milvus migrans, Black Kite, Museums Victoria Collections, https://collections.museumsvictoria.com.au/species/5765
  3. Black Kite (Milvus migrans), Society for the PReservation of Raptors (Inc), http://www.raptor.org.au/mmigrans.html

ASDP FaunaAmegilla chlorocyanea Bee Australian Boobook Owl Australian Bustard Australian Golden Orb-Weaving Spider Australian Hobby Banded Lapwing Barn Owl Black Kite Black-breasted Buzzard Black-faced Woodswallow Black-fronted Dotterel Bourke’s Parrot Brown Falcon Caper White Butterfly Day Flying Moth Desert Scorpion Dingo Emu Ghost Bat Gidgee Skink Greater Bilby Inland Dotterel Numbat Orange Chat Perentie Potter Wasp Princess Parrot Processionary Caterpillar Rainbow Bee-eater Red-capped Robin Red Kangaroo Short-beaked Echidna Spinifex Hopping Mouse Spinifex Pigeon Splendid Fairy-wren Tawny Frogmouth Thorny Devil Wedge-tailed Eagle Western Bowerbird Western Quoll Whistling Kite White-faced Heron White-winged Fairywren