Saturday, June 27, 2009

Swallow-tailed Kite

The Swallow-tailed Kite is a large raptor.  Although, I don’t think they are as large as a Bald Eagle.

We watched 6 of them soar over the Hammock, off and on, for most of the afternoon. We don’t see them everyday. My husband has called to me many times that they are up there. By the time I get the camera and get out the door…they’ll be soaring off in the distance. Today I was able to capture a few shots.  None are very good, but I was thrilled to get these.  Our place is heavily wooded with very tall trees and even taller Palm trees. Every time I got the Kite in my view finder and somewhat focused, it would flash behind a tree and I’d have to start all over. They are so beautiful in the air….it’s hard to concentrate on taking pictures and not just watching them.

x 022cs

This one looks like it’s watching me, but is probably looking for food. They can snatch a frog or small bird from a tree top.

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Rabbits are also on their menu and I have at least 3 that live in and around the yard. x 023cs A lot of the time they are just gliding. Most of the movement you see is the use of the tail as rudders. They lift up and down to  control the direction of their flight, as they ride the thermals.x 019cs

Today they were unusually vocal and it helped me to figure out which direction they might be coming from as they topped the trees and flew over our clearing. Most of my shots were taken almost directly overhead and then they’d be gone again.

Here is a short video.


  1. Hi Carol,
    These are so beautiful in flight! All are great captures and I enjoyed the video! Thanks for posting because I never see these.

  2. Very nice! I know what you mean about getting a bird in focus as they are flying. It's very difficult. I enjoyed the video, especially to be able to hear them. Sometimes that's what makes a bird sighting most enjoyable. Good work!

  3. You did a great job, Carol, with your photos. I've never seen a Swallow-tailed Kite before... Gorgeous bird. I can see where the word KITE comes from!!

    Hope you are having a great weekend.

  4. Wow, I'd say you did pretty darn good catching these Kites in flight. I truly struggle taking pics of birds just perched. Liked hearing them on the video.

  5. Nice images of the Swallow-tailed Kite in flight.Enjoyed the video.

  6. You captured some nice photos. I have never seen one of those birds.

  7. Hey Carol, what a great experience to watch them 'dancing' above your head.

  8. Hi Carol,

    first time I have seen one of these, looks truely stunning.

  9. I love the swallowtails, and I could watch them for hours and hours. what a lovely bird to have nearby!


  10. Carol, Just incredible pics of the swallowtails.

  11. A very interesting post with good photos and video.

    It is difficult to capture flying birds, and you have done well.

  12. Hi Carol, I've been trying to get a shot of a Kite for some time now. I guess I'm going to have to glue my camera to me. I did manage to get a couple the other day, but very blurry.

    You have some amazing photos on your blog. I look forward to visiting again.

    Cindy (another Floridian)

  13. Your rabbits are safe. Swallow-taileds eat flying insects mostly, though in nesting season they prey on smaller vertebrates like green snakes, lizards, treefrogs, and nestling birds.


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