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Mississippi Kite

ID Info
Silhouette KitesKites
Mississippi KiteIctinia mississippiensis
  • ORDER: Accipitriformes
  • FAMILY: Accipitridae

Basic Description

The Mississippi Kite makes a streamlined silhouette as it careens through the sky on the hunt for small prey, or dive-bombs intruders that come too close to its nest tree. These sleek, pearly gray raptors often hunt together and nest colonially in stands of trees, from windbreaks on southern prairies to old-growth bottomlands in the Southeast (and even on city parks and golf courses). After rearing their chicks they fly all the way to central South America for the winter.

More ID Info
image of range map for Mississippi Kite
Range map provided by Birds of the World
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Find This Bird

To find Mississippi Kites, head to the Southeast or the southern prairies of Texas and Oklahoma during the summer. Keep your eyes raised, as these birds spend a lot of their time in the air. Though they can sometimes be very high, they often sail on the wind not much above treetop level, where they zero in on flying insects to catch and devour them on the wing. In the Southeast you’ll have your best luck around large wooded wetlands, but in Texas and Oklahoma don’t discount urban settings, where you may spot them soaring above athletic fields or perching on tall buildings.

Other Names

  • Elanio del Misisipi (Spanish)
  • Milan du Mississippi (French)
  • Cool Facts