Black-shouldered kite

Elanus axillaris

The Black-shouldered Kite is a small, white and pale grey hawk with a wing span of 82 – 94 cm. Its body length is 33 – 37 cm and weight is approximately 249 gram for males and 293 gram for females. It hovers frequently as it hunts for mice, small lizards and ground birds.

It is widespread and relatively common throughout Australia in woodlands, grasslands and farmland.


Head – white, black in front of eye and thin black ‘eyebrow’. Eye – red. Cere – cream to yellow. Chest and Belly – white. Wings upper- pale grey with distinctive black patch between carpal and shoulder, darker primaries

Wings under-  pale grey with distinctive black carpal spot and dark grey primaries. Tail – pale grey. Feet – yellow


Head, back and breast is rusty brow, eyes brown and feet pale yellow. Black shoulder patch fringed with white, as are feathers on back. Eyes brown, cere cream, feet pale yellow

Status: widespread and common