NZ Birds of Prey / Vagrant / Black Kite
What does the Black Kite Look Like?
The Black Kite (Milvus migrans) is very similar in size and shape to the Australasian (Swamp) harrier and also inhabits open country.
It differs however from the harrier in flying with a very flat wing (rather than holding its wings in a shallow V-shape) and has a very distinctive V-shaped tail. This V-shaped tail provides its other name, the Fork-tailed kite.
Where does The Black Kite live?
Black kites are common throughout Australia, Africa, Europe and Asia, but compared with the Nankeen kestrel are relatively infrequent visitors to our shores.
That said when they do come here they do like to stay - one individual set up home just outside of Renwick in the South Island in 1992 and has not left since!
Like harriers they are generally scavengers but will also eat insects and take small birds when available. The lack of frequent visitors makes them a relatively unlikely coloniser of New Zealand.
images: Thomas Kraft / Tim Sträter - licensed under Creative Commons