The Wildebeest's guide to South Africa

Black-shouldered Kite

Afrikaans name: Blouvalk

A Black-shouldered Kite looking clumsy as it loses its balance on thin twigs.

Black-shouldered Kite

Photo © Steven Herbert

Elanus caeruleus

Some sources call this species the Black-winged Kite to avoid confusion with the Black-shouldered Kite found in Australia (I think that the Australians should rename their species).

The black shoulders of this species are very evident when the bird is perched.

The Black-shouldered Kite is often seen hovering over open grassland while it hunts for prey. There are very few birds in South Africa that can actually hover as these birds can. Most need to do it into a strong breeze.

Their prey includes small rodents, insects and lizards.

They lay 3 or 4 eggs in a nest made of twigs.

A Black-shouldered Kite looking clumsy as it loses its balance on thin twigs.

Photo © Steven Herbert

The Black-shouldered Kite can be found virtually anywhere in South Africa. Although it may be found in a variety of habitats it prefers grassland, cultivated land and fynbos. Beyond South Africa's birders it is widely distributed through to India and parts of Europe.

References and further reading

Wildlife of the Cape Peninsula - Author: Duncan Butchart - Published: 2001 - Page: 48

Wild About Johannesburg - Author: Duncan Butchart - Published: 1995 - Page: 40

Wildlife of Southern Africa - Author: Martin Withers and David Hosking - Published: 2011 - Page: 48

The Status & Conservation of Birds of Prey in the Transvaal - Author: W. Tarboton and D. Allan - Published: 1984 - Page: 24

The Sandton Field Guide - Author: Sandton Nature Conservation Society - Published: 1982 - Page: 45

The Birds of South Africa - Author: Hazel Stokes - Published: 1979 - Page: 8

The Birds of South Africa - 1st Edition - Author: Dr. Austin Roberts - Published: 1949 - Page: 51

Southern African Wildlife - Author: Readers Digest - Published: 1989 - Page: 150

Southern African Bird Names Explained - Author: Charles Clinning - Published: 1989 - Page: 51

Sasol Birds of Southern Africa - 4th Edition - Author: Ian Sinclair et al. - Published: 2011 - Page: 114

Sasol Birds of Prey of Africa and its Islands - Author: Alan and Meg Kemp - Published: 1998 - Page: 194

Sasol Birds of Southern Africa - 1st Edition - Author: Ian Sinclair et al. - Published: 1993 - Page: 106

Roberts Birds of Southern Africa - 6th Edition - Author: Gordon Lindsay Maclean - Published: 1993 - Page: 109

Roberts Birds of South Africa - 3rd Edition - Author: McLachlan and Liversidge - Published: 1975 - Page: 88

Roberts Birds of South Africa - 4th Edition - Author: McLachlan and Liversidge - Published: 1981 - Page: 93

Roberts Birds of Southern Africa - 5th Edition - Author: Gordon Lindsay Maclean - Published: 1985 - Page: 113

Roberts Birds of South Africa - 2nd edition - Author: McLachlan and Liversidge - Published: 1957 - Page: 70

Questions and Answers - Birds of Southern Africa - Author: Deirdre Richards - Published: 1990 - Page: 17

Newmans Birds of Southern Africa - 7th Edition - Author: Ken Newman - Published: 2000 - Page: 174

Meeting with Birds - Author: Tom Spence - Published: 1986 - Page: 39

Newmans Birds of Southern Africa - 1st Edition - Author: Ken Newman - Published: 1984 - Page: 174

Know your Birds of Prey - Author: - Published: 0 - Page: 24

Illustrated Guide to the Game Parks and Nature Reserves of SA - 2nd edn - Author: Readers Digest - Published: 1991 - Page: 409

Collins Illustrated Checklist - Birds of Southern Africa - 1st edition - Author: Ber van Perlo - Published: 1999 - Page: 14

go! - Issue 184 - Author: - Published: 2022 - Page: 114

Ian Sinclairs Field Guide to the Birds of Southern Africa - 2nd Edition - Author: Ian Sinclair - Published: 1988 - Page: 88

Field Guide to the Cradle of Humankind - Author: B. Hilton-Barber & Prof. L. R. Berger - Published: 2004 - Page: 179

Field Guide to the Birds of Kruger National Park - Author: Ian Sinclair and Ian Whyte - Published: 1991 - Page: 50

Everyones Guide to South African Birds - Author: John Sinclair and John Mendelsohn - Published: 1987 - Page: 29

Eagles, Hawks & Falcons of the World - Author: Leslie Brown and Dean Amadon - Published: 1989 - Page: 240

Common Birds of the North Coast - Author: Bing Comrie - Published: 2005 - Page: 15

Birds of the Transvaal - Author: Tarboton, Kemp and Kemp - Published: 1987 - Page: 45

Birds of the South Western Cape - Author: Joy Frandsen - Published: 0 - Page: 51

Birds of the Natal Drakensberg Park - Author: Robin Little and William Bainbridge - Published: 1992 - Page: 15

Birds of the Transkei - Author: C.D. Quickelberge - Published: 1989 - Page: 40

Bird Atlas of Natal - Author: Digby Cyrus and Nigel Robson - Published: 1980 - Page: 71

Birds of Prey of Southern Africa - Author: Peter Steyn - Published: 1985 - Page: 46

Birds of Prey of the World - Author: Friedhelm Weick - Published: 1980 - Page: 70

Birds of Southern Africa - Kruger National Park - Author: Kenneth Newman - Published: 1985 - Page: 78

Animals of the Kruger National Park - Author: G. de Graaff - Published: 1987 - Page: 69

African Birds of Prey - Author: Leslie Brown - Published: 1970 - Page: 52

An Introduction to the Birds of Prey of South Africa - Author: D.V. Prout-Jones - Published: 1974 - Page: 90

An Introduction to the Birds of Prey of South Africa - Author: D.V. Prout-Jones - Published: 1974 - Page: 72

A First Guide to South African Birds - 7th Edition - Author: Leonard Gill - Published: 1975 - Page: 126

A Field Guide to the Birds of Southern Africa - 2nd Edition - Author: O.P.M. Prozesky - Published: 1983 - Page: 69

A First Guide to South African Birds - 6th Edition - Author: Leonard Gill - Published: 1959 - Page: 126

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