White Tailed Kite (Elanus Leucurus)

  • Post category:PRESERVE

Status: California Species of Special Concern1

  • Listed as California fully protected


  • Open groves, river valleys, marshes, grasslands, open oak grassland, desert grassland, farm country, marshes

Feeding Behavior/Diet

  • Hunts mostly by flying over open country, pausing frequently to hover and study the ground; on sighting prey, it dives, catching prey in its talons.
  • Specializes on small rodents that are active by day in open country, particularly voles and house mice. Other items in diet, include pocket gophers, harvest mice, rats, shrews, young rabbits, sometimes birds. Rarely may eat snakes, lizards, frogs, large insects.


  • Usually 4 eggs. Incubation is by female, 26-32 days. Male usually perches nearby, and brings food to female during incubation.
  • Young are able to fly at about 30-35 days, but may return to nest to sleep or to be fed for some time after.
  • Adults may nest a 2nd time in same season, and if so, young from first nesting may be driven from territory2

1 HELIX Environmental Planning Carson Creek Preserve Long Term Management Plan Rev 6/15/2021

2 National Audubon Society