Nebraska Ornithologists' Union


Date of this Version



Lingle & Lingle, "A Second Black-Shouldered Kite in Nebraska, with Notes on Its Food Habits," from Nebraska Bird Review (December 1983) 51(4).


Copyright 1983, Nebraska Ornithologists' Union. Used by permission.


On 31 August 1983 at about 1200 h COT, the junior author discovered a Black-shouldered Kite (Elanus caeruleus) on Mormon Island Crane Meadows, Hall County, Nebraska, perched in a plains cottonwood (Populus deltoides). The senior author visited the site at 1800 h COT and observed the bird in the same tree, with a 25x spotting scope. It was perched on a dead limb and was carefully observed for 15 min. The next day, 1 September, we visited the area at 1200 hand observed the Kite. We carefully noted plumage and soft parts coloration as follows: eye - reddish brown; cere - greenish yellow; bill - bluish black; tarsus - yellow; cap - streaked with brown and white feathers gradually blending into a pearl gray neck and back; tail - mostly white with a faint, partial terminal band; breast - nearly all white except for remnants of a brownish streaked bib and sparse brownish fleckings on the breast; wings - grayish white except for black coverts; underside in flight - nearly all white except for black wrist markings. Based on these markings we believe it was an immature bird which had nearly completely molted into adult plumage. We flushed the bird and it circled curiously overhead, displaying its coloration. This bird was observed on 22 occasions from 31 August to 8 October. It perched regularly in the cottonwood or one of two nearby boxelders (Acer negundo).