White-tailed Kite hovers over San Antonio

The White-tailed Kite (Elanus leucurus) can now be found in Costa Rica wherever there is open country. Identification is not a problem because of its mostly white plumage and its habit of hovering, sometimes for quite lengthy periods, as it scouts the ground below for small rodents, lizards, etc. The following file photo from June 2017, taken in nearby Santa Rosa, could even be the same individual that hovered over the valley of the Rio Guayabito here in San Antonio today. It is an occasional but not common sight. This species was unknown in Costa Rica until 1958; increasing deforestation is the probable cause of its continuing expansion since then.

Kite, White-tailed, Santa Rosa Garden

White-shouldered Kite hovering in typical fashion over Santa Rosa; photo by John Beer.

If you’re lucky enough to find a perched bird, as we did a couple of years ago further downhill at the Angostura Dam, you will be able to appreciate the smooth beauty of its plumage.

Kite, White-tailed (adult, Angostura) (1)

This perched bird shows the black shoulder that gave it its original English name of Black-shouldered Kite. Photo by John Beer

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