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Black Shouldered Kite or Elanus caeruleus

Kerala is proud to have an amazing variety of fauna. It is home to about 500 species of birds of which 16 are endemic to the Western Ghats.

The Black Shouldered Kite (Elanus caeruleus) belongs to the Accipitridae family of the Falconiformes order. It is also known as Black Winged Kite.

Black Shouldered kite prefers to live in open places. This is one of the most beautiful birds of prey found in Kerala. The bird has a white head and its under parts are bluish grey. The black tips of its wings get the bird its name.

Black Shouldered Kites feed mainly on small mammals of the size of a rat. They are also traced preying upon small ground birds, large insects like grasshoppers and dead fish.

They are often spotted as sitting on tree stumps with great concentration looking out for prey. They also have the nature of hovering at one spot in the mid air.

In Kerala, they can be watched at close quarters at Thattekkad bird sanctuary, Idukki, which was set up in 1983 by Salim Ali, the renowned ornithologist.

These kites are mostly seen in northwest Africa, Australia, Southern Asia, Arabian region and Southwest Europe.