Our resident Black Kites have featured a number of times in recent weeks. Two individuals were soaring over Newstead today.

A brief few minutes of sunshine helped me realise that this species is not at all aptly named. It’s not really black at all – the upper parts are a dull brown with pale highlights, while underneath, rich chestnut feathers are a feature.

Milvus migrans is also known as the Fork-tailed Kite, Kite-Hawk, and in India the Pariah Kite, on account of its scavenging behaviour around human settlements, where sometimes thousands of kites will gather in search of food. As the photographs below indicate, these common names don’t do justice to this beautiful raptor.


Black Kite, Newstead, 5th July 2014.


Looking a little ruffled on a bleak winter afternoon.


The rich chestnut underwing coverts and belly, and clear barring on the tail and primaries are on show.

2 responses to “Misnomer

  1. These photographs, especially the third one, are just stunning. Absolutely beautiful. The details you have captured are engrossing as the closer I look the more I notice. Thank you.

  2. Saide of Sandon

    ‘Tis indeed a beautiful bird and so are your photos. The detailed markings and patterned colours are a visual delight. Thanks for sharing this.

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