Black Kite (Milvus migrans) at New Delhi Zoo
The Black Kite (Milvus migrans) is a medium-sized bird of prey in the family Accipitridae which also includes many other diurnal raptors such as eagles, buzzards, and harriers.
European and central Asian birds (subspecies M. m. milvus and M. m. lineatus respectively) are migratory, moving to the tropics in winter, but races in warmer regions such as the Indian M. m. govinda (Pariah Kite) or the Australasian M. m. affinis (Fork-tailed Kite), are resident.
Black Kites will take small live prey as well as fish, household refuse and carrion. They are attracted to fires and smoke where they seek escaping insect prey. They are well adapted to living in cities and are found even in densely populated areas. Large numbers may be seen soaring in thermals over cities. In some places they will readily swoop to take to food offered by humans, their habit of swooping to pick up dead rodents from roads often leads to them being hit by vehicles. They are also a major nuisance at some airports where they are considered important birdstrike hazards.
The Black Kite can be distinguished from the Red Kite by its slightly smaller size, less forked tail and generally dark plumage without any rufous.
The Black Kite nests in forest trees, often close to other kites. In winter, many kites will roost together.