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Wildlife Spotlight: White-tailed Kite

White-tailed Kite

A small to medium-sized raptor, the white-tailed kite is a sight to see with its snow-white feathers, black markings and piercing red eyes. Mostly found in grasslands, open woodlands, savannas, marshes, and cultivated fields, the white-tailed kite is known for its interesting hunting style.

When searching for its next meal, a white-tailed kite will hover up to 80 feet above an open area, rapidly beating its wings and facing into the wind, pausing in mid-air almost as if it were attached to a string. Once its prey has been spotted, the white-tailed kite will dive down to try and capture the animal in its talons. The white-tailed kite’s hunting style is so distinctive that it has become known as “kiting.” This raptor species mainly eats small mammals, but has been known to eat birds, lizards, and insects on occasion.

White-tailed kites can often be seen looking for their next meal at the City of Irvine’s Quail Hill. The vast open area provides the perfect setting to hover and look for small rodents. You can learn more about Quail Hill in this Landmark Spotlight video.

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