Saturday, August 6, 2022

European Black Kite

In 2014 in the Ngorongoro Crater of Tanzania, Africa we encountered a black kite flying over us at the Gorigor Swamp while we were eating sack lunches. One person reported that they saw it swoop down and take someone's lunch. 
The black kite from the Gorigor Swamp in the Ngorongoro Crater.

Fast forward eight years and we were taking a birding tour of the Tagus River Estuary south of Lisbon, Portugal. Our guide pointed out a black kite and we saw it, on and of, for about 30 minutes. Sometimes perched, sometimes flying. 

We saw another one later. It wasn't until I got home that I could confirm it was the same kind of kite we'd seen in the Ngorongoro Crater. You can see from the map below that it has a very wide distribution through Europe, Africa and Asia and Australia and it is one of the world's most abundant raptors, with an estimated 6 million of them. 
Light green is breeding, dark green is resident, dark blue is non-breeding and light blue is migration. 
We saw one of five subspecies, the European black kite, which breeds in Europe and winters in subSaharan Africa. In my photos and in the photos on Wikipedia it has very distinctive underwings with splotches of black, white and brown and a forked tail and whitish head. 

1 comment:

  1. Those wings with their many "fingertips" really are gorgeous.