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Kites belong to the genus of birds of prey and form the subfamily of hawks. A distinctive feature of kites from other birds of prey is the shape and size of the beak - it is hook-shaped and small. Eight species of these birds are known.
The most famous species is the red kite. The distribution area of the red kite covers vast territories from Spain to the Far East. The tail of the red kite is strongly forked, and this feature makes it easy to recognize the red kite.
It is difficult to say that the kite is a majestic bird. He is clumsy, hardly daring and rather lazy. But the flight of the kite is an exciting picture. The kite can fly tirelessly at great heights and be in a state of free soaring for a quarter of an hour.
The diet of kites mainly includes insects, frogs, lizards, snakes, and small mammals. They do not refuse to fall, and sometimes even attack birds, but they rarely fly out to hunt.
Kites build their nests on the tops of trees and often lining their inner surface with scraps of paper, old rags, etc. Kites usually contain two or three eggs. The female is responsible for incubating the eggs.
The red kite is easy to tame. When a kite is caught, he at first pretends to be dead and does this until he realizes that it is impossible to deceive a person in this way.
The flight of the kite is a fascinating picture. These birds fly slowly but tirelessly. Kites are capable of flying at such a height that it is impossible to distinguish them with the naked eye. A kite is able to soar for a long period of time - for example, a black kite can soar in the air for a quarter of an hour (that is, it will never flap its wings in fifteen minutes). Kites are intelligent birds. It is not difficult for them to distinguish an ordinary person from a hunter. These birds usually try not to appear in places where they have been frightened at least once.
Kites form large flocks on migration. This is a very rare occurrence among birds of prey. There are cases when the number of kites in this kind of flocks is hundreds of individuals. Thus, the kites spend the night together during the passage. Often all of them together can be seen soaring in the air. For the winter, these birds go to tropical African and Asian regions.
The Brahmin Kite is an inhabitant of the South Asian territories. Its distribution area covers territories from India to the Solomon Islands. The body length of this kite reaches fifty-six centimeters. The main colors of the plumage of the Brahmin kite are white (chest, neck, head) and reddish-brown (the rest of the body). Juveniles are brown in color, which is varied by darker streaks on the neck and head. The beak of the Brahmin kite is yellow at the top and whitish along the rest of the length. Individuals of this species try to settle near rice fields, in mangroves, or near water bodies. Their diet mainly includes snake fish and carrion. In addition, the Brahmin Kite can eat frogs, lizards, chicks and even small animals. The Brahmin Kite makes seasonal movements. Most likely, they are associated with changes in dry and rainy periods.
The Brahmin Kite has two clutches per year. On the territory of India, indeed, it has been noticed that a Brahmin kite has two clutches within one year. They fall in June and December. They prefer to arrange nests on palms, but it is possible to arrange nests on other trees. The clutch contains two eggs with a variegated surface. Rarely there can be three eggs in a clutch. Both the female and the male take part in incubation.
The winged kite is an inhabitant of Australia. Individuals of this species inhabit the desert territories of the central part of this continent. Black stripes gracefully border the outer edge of the underwings (the base color of which is white). The drop-winged kite is a bird of prey, and for hunting it chooses at night or in the evening. The diet of these kites includes mice, rats and other rodents.
The Fork-tailed Kite is a small bird. However, individuals of this species have a long tail and long wings. The total length of these birds (including the length of the tail) is approximately fifty centimeters. The wingspan of the fork-tailed kite varies from one hundred and ten to one hundred and twenty-five centimeters, and the length of the tail ranges from forty to forty-five centimeters. Black and white colors make up the whole range of colors of the plumage of the fork-tailed kite. Black is the tail, upper tail, wings and back, white - other parts of the body. The claws and beak of this species are also black. The paws are blue.
Fork-tailed kite inhabits the territory of America. As for the North American distribution area, at present, the fork-tailed kite is rarely found only in South Florida. The fact is that over the past century, these birds have been subjected to unreasonable extermination, as a result of which the population of the fork-tailed kites in North America has decreased in number. Now the fork-tailed kite inhabits the territories of Central America, in smaller numbers in the eastern part of South America.
Fork-tailed kites build nests in tree crowns. The clutch contains from two to four variegated eggs. Both the female and the male take part in incubation. The diet of fork-tailed kites includes mainly insects. Fork-tailed kites grab them on the fly with their paws.
The distribution area of the smoky kite is significant in size. The smoky kite lives in the territories of South-East Asia, India, Africa. It can be found in the southern regions of Spain. The smoky kite settles in savannas, woodlands, or simply in open landscapes. Individuals of this species are sedentary. The diet of individuals of this species is mainly small rodents. Various terrestrial birds (for example, larks), large insects and lizards will diversify their diet.
The smoky kite is a beautiful bird. The back and head of these birds are endowed with a soft gray color. The shoulders of individuals of this species are black. The bottom is white.
The smoky kite is relatively small. Its body length varies from twenty-eight to thirty-five centimeters. The mass, as a rule, is in the range from two hundred and thirty to two hundred and fifty grams.
The baby kite is a representative of the smoky kites. Lives in South America. It got its name from its very small size. Its weight is approximately equal to only one hundred grams.
Only the female of the smoky kite is involved in hatching the eggs. A clutch of smoky kite contains three or four eggs. The color of the eggs is creamy. Incubation lasts twenty-seven or twenty-eight days.
The toothed kite is a small bird of prey. The distribution area covers territories from southern Mexico to the northern regions of the South American continent. There are two teeth on the upper beak of a toothed-billed kite (it was this feature that became the reason to call this bird so). The total length of individuals varies from thirty to thirty-five centimeters. The diet of these birds includes insects and medium-sized reptiles.
The toothed-billed kite is a bird with beautiful plumage. The main color of the plumage is brown, only the head is colored dark gray. Light transverse stripes adorn the tail and flight feathers of the toothed-billed kite. The claws and beak of this species are black. The legs of these birds are orange. Clutch contains three or four eggs (kites make nests in trees). The white surface of the eggs is decorated with brown spots.
The red-footed kite is similar to the two-colored hawk. The similarities are truly striking. The red-footed kite, like the two-colored hawk, is an inhabitant of tropical forests. The plumage of these birds is similar in color, as well as their size. The plumage color includes a light underside, a dark top, and reddish "pants" on the hips. As for the size, the body length of these birds varies from thirty to thirty-eight centimeters, and the mass ranges from one hundred and eighty to two hundred and fifty grams. The habits and appearance are also similar in the red-footed kite and the two-colored hawk. This phenomenon is called mimicry, that is, we are talking about imitative similarity. The fact is that the red-footed kite feeds on cicadas. The latter begin to sing after small birds fly away, having seen a "predatory hawk" (and in fact a kite similar to it). These are the mysteries of nature.
The red kite is a migratory bird. Only in the northern territories of its distribution. For those individuals that already live in the Mediterranean, a sedentary lifestyle is characteristic. The red kite adheres to forest areas. The main color of the plumage of adults has a reddish tint (hence the name). The total body length is approximately sixty centimeters, the weight exceeds one kilogram. The wingspan ranges from one hundred and fifty to one hundred and seventy centimeters, and the wing length ranges from forty-seven to fifty-three centimeters. The distribution area of the red kite covers the territory of the Canary Islands, North-West Africa. Asia Minor, South and Central Europe. The population of the red kite in Central Europe has significantly decreased over the past decades, although there are currently prerequisites for its recovery.
The red kite is a rare species. All over the world currently inhabited from seventeen to twenty-eight thousand pairs. Most of these birds nest in Spain, Germany and France. The red kite is protected by international and national agreements. The red kite is included, among other things, in the Red Book of Russia. The total population of the red kite declined significantly in the twentieth century. Only in the period from 1970 to the 1990s, the population of these birds decreased by 20%. The main reason for this was the pursuit of red kites by humans. It included and in some areas still includes the use of poisoned baits, egg collection and shooting. In addition, the decline in the number of the red kite can be associated with a decrease in the number of lands that are suitable for nesting of these birds. This reduction is due to the economic use of land by humans, as well as a decrease in their quality.
The red kite has been using the same nest for several years. Its construction begins in March and is preceded by courtship. Often, during mating games, red kites rush rapidly towards each other and turn away only at the very last moment. At the same time, sometimes the birds even touch each other with their paws. Eggs are laid two to four weeks after construction starts. In individuals that breed for the first time, nest construction occurs in early April. For the construction of a nest, kites usually choose pine, linden or oak. The nest is located at a fork in the tree, which is twelve to twenty meters above the ground. There are times when red kites use old abandoned crow or buzzard nests. Two to three days before laying, red kites cover the inner surface of the nest with sheep's wool.
A clutch of eggs of red kites includes from one to three eggs. Less often, the number of eggs in a clutch is four. The eggs are laid sequentially. The interval between oviposition is three days. The surface of the eggs is white with red dots. The female of the red kite is able to lay eggs twice in one season, if the eggs from the first clutch were lost for various reasons. If for any reason the chicks died, then the female of the red kite can no longer lay eggs again during the season - only one offspring is hatched within one year. The incubation period is thirty-one or thirty-two days per egg. In total, the incubation period for the entire clutch (if it contains three eggs) is thirty-seven or thirty-eight days. Only the female of the red kite takes part in incubation. During this period, the male plays the role of a food provider. Chicks are born already covered with down. They appear us light in the order in which the laying was carried out. After the birth of the chicks, the female remains with them in the nest for the first two weeks. The male of the red kite provides them with food.
Chicks are aggressive towards each other. This circumstance, meanwhile, rarely leads to death. One and a half months after birth, the chicks from the nest can get out to neighboring branches. The chicks of the red kite make their first flight no earlier than forty-eight to fifty days (and sometimes even after seventy days) after birth - the time of the first flight depends both on the availability of the food supply and on the size of the brood. Young individuals live with their parents for about fifteen to twenty days after they become completely independent.
The size of the black kite is greater than the size of the red kite. On the contrary, the even kite is smaller. Its body length is from fifty-five to fifty-eight centimeters, the length of the tail is from twenty-six to twenty-nine centimeters, and the length of the wing is from forty-four to forty-seven centimeters. The wingspan of the black kite varies from one hundred thirty-six to one hundred and forty-five centimeters. The weight of black kites ranges from 800 grams to 1.1 kilograms.
Black kite of black color. This is not true. Since in fact only its beak and claws are black. Those feathers that give the impression of blackness are actually dark brown in color. The black kite got its name as a distinctive feature of the red kite.
The black kite is a migratory bird. This applies only to kites that settle in the Palaearctic. In other parts of the nesting area, the black kite is a resident bird. At the nesting site, individuals of this species are often found in the territories of the southern and temperate zones of Asia, as well as in the territories of Northern Australia, the African continent (with the exception of the Sahara) and Madagascar. The black kite can be seen on some islands, in particular New Guinea, Sulawesi, and the Philippines. The distribution area of the black kite in the Russian Federation covers the territory from Arkhangelsk to Primorye. Individuals of this species do not nest in the northern part of the taiga zone.
Black kites are tied to a specific territory. This refers to the fact that in the spring time, when individuals of this species arrive at their summer residence, they proceed with particular care to search for the place where they lived last year. Black kites prefer to settle in forests near swamps or rivers - the black kite often spends daylight hours in flights over or along a water body. It is difficult to imagine a black kite hovering over hilly terrain; this bird is adapted to life on a flat area in the immediate vicinity of water. In this regard, the Danube meadows are very suitable for the habitat.
The black kite is famous for its flight. The flight is really very beautiful. This is especially striking when the black kite hovers over the river surface.But the most impressive sight can be observed during the mating period - then you can see how not one kite soars in the air at a considerable height, but a whole pair of black kites. From time to time, one of the kites headlong falls down almost to the very surface of the water, but very quickly returns back.
The nest of the black kite is not difficult to build. To build a nest, the kite chooses a higher tree, but builds the nest on its lower half. The nest of the black kite is, indeed, rather primitive - it is formed by carelessly sketched twigs. In addition, it often happens that a black kite appropriates a nest thrown by herons (but more often it builds it on its own). In this regard, it is sometimes difficult to make out which nest belongs to the heron and which to the black kite.
Black kites live alone. Or in small groups. Or significant colonies - nesting concentrations of black kites were recorded in the lower reaches of the Bug, Dniester, Volga, as well as along the Ilek River.
The black kite is an omnivorous bird. The diet of this bird includes fish, insects, reptiles, amphibians, chicks and even small mammals, as well as carrion and refuse. As for the latter, the black kite rarely refuses such food and, therefore, often stays close to human settlements - especially in the territories of South Asia and Africa.
Apple snails are the only food for slug-eating kites. These kites live in the rainforests of America. Individuals of this species look out for apple snails either from certain "observation points", or directly in flight. Kites skillfully grab snails from the surface of aquatic plants using thin fingers endowed with sharp claws. The feeding habits of these kites force them to settle around those reservoirs where this snail is found. They settle in colonies. The slug-eating kite is a migratory bird. Breeds in South America and USA, Cuba and Eastern Mexico.
Only the male takes part in the construction of the nest. The clutch of slug-eating kites contains from two to four eggs. The eggs have a pale green surface, on which brown markings are clearly visible. But both the female and the male participate in incubation. Both parents feed the offspring that was born. The final outfit of young kites is formed in the third year of their life, although they first fly out of the nest a month after their birth.
The population of slug-eating kites has decreased in number. This is largely due to the draining of the swamps. Drainage causes the death of snails, which form the basis of food for these kites, which causes the death of the latter. Therefore, slug-eating kites need protection.
Wide-mouthed kites are endowed with a peculiar appearance. These kites have a short beak with a huge slit reaching the eyes (hence the name), surprisingly large eyes, and a medium-length crest on the back of the head. The nails on the thin and long toes are curved. Wide-mouthed kites have long wings. The total body length ranges from forty to forty-seven centimeters. Individuals of this species have a white ring around their eyes. The ventral side is variegated; the neck and throat are decorated with a longitudinal white stripe. The dorsal side of the body is blackish-brown in color. It does not lead a strictly diurnal lifestyle, but rather a crepuscular one - this is by no means characteristic of all birds of prey.
The broad-mouthed kite feeds on bats. In all likelihood, bats predominate in the diet of the broad-mouthed kite, and it is diversified by large insects and very rarely even by small birds. The broad-mouthed kite seizes prey on the fly with the help of its paws, and eats it on the fly.
For the nest, the wide-mouthed kite chooses tall trees. The clutch usually contains two eggs that are bluish-green in color. Sometimes brown marks are visible on the surface of the eggs.
The parasitic kite is a daring bird. The craft of this kite can be called begging. In this regard, individuals prefer to settle in populated areas. He is endowed with keen eyes, from which almost nothing escapes. The parasitic kite closely monitors the actions of people and even understands a lot about them. They say that a parasitic kite, for example, never pays attention to a fisherman going fishing, but a kite always notices a kite returning from it. The parasitic kite is a real thief. It is worth for a moment to be distracted by the cook who is engaged in butchering meat, as one of the pieces will instantly be in the paws of the kite. Unlucky customers carrying purchased meat in a basket can also be robbed.
Eagles are close relatives of kites. These are birds of very large size. Their body weight reaches nine kilograms, and their wingspan can be up to two hundred and fifty centimeters. Eagles are found on the territories of almost all continents. It cannot be seen only in Antarctica and in South America. Many species of sea eagles are now considered rare species and are under protection. Eagles mainly eat fish and waterfowl.