Scissor-tailed kite

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Scissor-tailed kite
Chelictinia riocourii -Far North Region, Cameroon -flying-8.jpg
Flying in Far North Region, Cameroon
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Aves
Order: Accipitriformes
Family: Accipitridae
Genus: Chelictinia
Lesson, 1843
Species: C. riocourii
Binomial name
Chelictinia riocourii
(Vieillot, 1822)

The scissor-tailed kite or African swallow-tailed kite (Chelictinia riocourii) is a bird of prey in the monotypic genus Chelictinia in the Accipitridae family.[2] It is widespread in Africa, including: Benin, Burkina Faso, Cameroon, Central African Republic, Chad, Ivory Coast, Djibouti, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Gambia, Ghana, Kenya, Liberia, Mali, Mauritania, Niger, Nigeria, Senegal, Somalia, Sudan, Togo, Uganda, and is also found in Yemen.

Although primarily preying on insects and spiders, during the breeding season, it also takes lizards and rodents. It hunts on the wing, by soaring and hovering before to descend to hawk the flying prey or catch it on the ground. This is a gregarious species, sleeping at communal roost at night and hunting in loose flocks. It may also nest in loose colonies. The small stick nest is placed in thick thorny bush. Usually four eggs are laid. This kite performs regular seasonal movements related to the rains.

The species is vulnerable to degradation of the habitat and pesticides. However, populations seem to be locally common in spite of decline in some parts of the range.