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Black shouldered or black winged kite

Elanus caeruleus


It is called Shikra (शिक्रा) in local language Marathi of Maharashtra.

2 Species ID Suggestions

Black-shouldered Kite
Elanus axillaris
Black-shouldered Kite
Elanus caeruleus Downloadable Checklist | Clements Checklist

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Milind Bodas
Milind Bodas 7 years ago

I don't know about the other parts of India, but in the region where I stay, i.e. Konkan, Western India, the name Shikra or Shikrya (शिक्रा or शिक्र्या) means the one who hunts. The name has been derived from the word Shikaar. Shikaar means The hunt.

LennyWorthington 7 years ago

Yes Malcolm.I had the same large book when I lived in England.Also the 6.4 Clentments checklist.I still have the checklist on my computer,to revert to the new one would take too much time.Tho I probably gain a lot more birds with all the splits.
Going back to the Black-shouldered Kite.I saw my first one in Portugal in 1975.
Since then I have seen them in India, America and other places i have forgotten.
Believe me they are all the same.OK there are several different races.Fair enough
I have not seen the Australian one.I have a friend who works for the Audubon Soc. and he laughingly told me, they say OK what are we gonna split next.
Here in Thailand I see both Black-shouldered Kite and Shikra almost daily.
They have nothing what soever in common.The "jizz" is not the same the flight the colour nothing.I'm sure Miling must have seen Shikra in India it's probably the commonist bird of prey.

Thanks for the update.
Interesting that the local name is Shikra as that is the Common name for Accipiter badius, which is the same size and similar plumage but without the black shoulders and has red barring on the breast.

The White-tailed Kite was identified as a separate species in 1818 but it is quite possible, even probable, that all 3 came from the same line back when the earth had just a single large landmass but after the continental split the 3 species evolved separately. I have no idea whether the Australia Asia split came after the Americas split from Europe/Africa.

Milind Bodas
Milind Bodas 7 years ago

Sure Malcom, I will edit it now. And thanks a lot.

Jellis 7 years ago

We have one very similar that is called White-tailed Kite.

@Lenny, that is the book I have used since 1999, it is very good but needs a big pocket, somewhat larger than a normal paperback but it does include everything recorded there up to 1996 (later editions may include more) with colour plates and location information. My edition uses Black-shouldered Kite as the Common Name in India.
For all those who refer to older books, the 2 species used to be considered the same, just different sub-species until they were separated, probably by DNA testing, and the name Black-shouldered Kite was in general use in most of the world although Black-winged Kite was used in parts of Africa at least. When the split was made some authorities decided it would be Black-shouldered for the Australian bird and Black-winged for the rest of the world, while others chose Australian Kite for the Australian bird and Black-shouldered for the rest of the world. As yet no agreement has been reached on which way to go!
@Milind, please update your spotting (using the EDIT button) with the correct scientific name (Elanus caeruleus). For the Common name you can use either the English Common Name or your own mother tongue. The scientific name field is the prime identifier on PN.

Milind Bodas
Milind Bodas 7 years ago

Thanks all my friends for the valuable information. its really a pleasure talking to you all. I am glad that I am a part of this discussion.

LennyWorthington 7 years ago

I would recommend to all Indian birdwatchers.
Pocket Guide to the Birds of the Indian Subcontinent.
By Richard Grimmet,Carol Inskipp and Tim Inskipp.
This would be an invaluable field guide for anyone visiting or living in India.

sarah in the woods
sarah in the woods 7 years ago

Malcolm, I was using the common names as they were used in the description of this particular spotting, but I see how using scientific names at all times would be less confusing. As for Wikipedia, I agree and am very glad to have the link you provided. I just assumed Wikipedia was acceptable since it is one of the fields to fill in for spottings.

Jared, Elanus axillaris is only found in Australia, all taxonomic authorities agree with this. It is only the Common name which is in question on this spotting and these vary from country to country so Project Noah accepts that in common use in the country of the spotting, not what some authorities in other countries want to use.

Milind Bodas
Milind Bodas 7 years ago

Thanks Sarah and Jared for response. And thanks Malcom for your valuable information.

Sarah, do not believe everything you read in Wikipedia, it is often written or edited by people who are not in full possession of all the facts.
Common names vary from Country to Country so cannot be relied on for identification, hence the use of scientific binomial names (Genus + species) for a more accurate identification, although these also vary.
In India it is Elanus caeruleus, but the Common name there is Black-shouldered Kite, as it is in most of Asia. The various taxonomic authorities have not yet agreed on the use of Common names so there will always be discrepancies. Although Project Noah does not refer to specific authorities most of us use the Clements checklist as a guide, it can be downloaded here.
This still shows the details I have quoted, and so do all my reference books, except those from Australia!

sarah in the woods
sarah in the woods 7 years ago

According to Wikipedia, black-shouldered kites are in Australia, and the black-winged kite is in India.

Milind Bodas
Spotted by
Milind Bodas

Maharashtra, India

Spotted on Jan 6, 2014
Submitted on Jan 6, 2014

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