Guardian Nature School Team Contact Blog Project Noah Facebook Project Noah Twitter

A global community of nature enthusiasts
photographing and learning about wildlife

Join Project Noah!
nature school apple icon

Project Noah Nature School visit nature school

Black-shouldered Kite

Elanus axillaris


Black-shouldered Kites are around 36 cm in length and have a wingspan of up to 95 cm (37 in). Adults are a very pale grey with a white head and white underparts. The leading edge of the inner wing is black. When perched, this gives them their prominent black "shoulders". They have orange eyes.


Although reported from almost all parts of Australia, they are most common in the relatively fertile south-east and south-west corners of the mainland, and in south-east Queensland.


This individual was rescued for rehabilitation after it was found on the ground. The Black-shouldered Kite often frets in captivity and adults will often refuse to eat. So whie it is one of the most stunning birds to come into care, it is also one of the most difficult to take care of.

Species ID Suggestions

Sign in to suggest organism ID


KatCuff 10 years ago

He knows! I'm not sure what, but he knows. Beautiful!

p.young713 10 years ago

Great photo!!

Gerardo Aizpuru
Gerardo Aizpuru 10 years ago

The eyes amazing shot, very intense facial concentration.

Steve A
Steve A 10 years ago

@ KarenL, the eyes are very interesting. We often associate this eye colour with nocturnal birds, and that id very true of the close cousin the Letterwing Kite. However the Black-shouldered Kite is diurnal, although it does often hunt early in the mornings. Either way - its a spectacular look in that white face.

KarenL 10 years ago

Wow! Those eyes....

ceherzog 10 years ago

Beautiful the red eyes.

Atul 10 years ago

very impressive bird to watch when hunting for food
great snap

Steve A
Spotted by
Steve A

New South Wales, Australia

Spotted on Feb 10, 2010
Submitted on Jul 8, 2011

Noah Guardians
Noah Sponsors
join Project Noah Team

Join the Project Noah Team