Yellow-billed kite

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Yellow-billed kite
Milvus aegyptius -Limpopo, South Africa-8.jpg
Adult in Limpopo, South Africa
Yellow-billed Kite (Milvus aegyptius) juvenile (6041210797).jpg
Immature in the Kruger Park, South Africa
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Aves
Order: Accipitriformes
Family: Accipitridae
Genus: Milvus
Species: M. aegyptius
Binomial name
Milvus aegyptius
Gmelin, 1788
  • M. a. aegyptius
  • M. a. parasitus

The yellow-billed kite (Milvus aegyptius) is the Afrotropic counterpart of the black kite (Milvus migrans), of which it is most often considered a subspecies. However, recent DNA studies suggest that the yellow-billed kite differs significantly from black kites in the Eurasian clade, and should be considered as a separate, allopatric species.[1]

There are two subspecies: M. a. parasitus, found throughout most of sub-Saharan Africa (including Madagascar), except for the Congo Basin (with intra-African migrations) and M. a. aegyptius of Egypt, south-west Arabia and the Horn of Africa (which disperses south during the non-breeding season).


As suggested by its name, the yellow-billed kite is easily recognized by its entirely yellow bill, unlike that of the black kite (which is present in Africa as a visitor during the North Hemisphere winter). However, immature yellow-billed kites resemble the black kites of the corresponding age.


It is mostly an intra-African breeding migrant, present in Southern Africa July–March and sometimes as late as May. It is generally common.

Habitat and feeding[edit]

They are found in almost all habitats, including parks in suburbia, but rare in the arid Namib and Karoo. They feed on a wide range of small vertebrates and insects, much of which is scavenged.


  1. ^ Jeff A. Johnson, Richard T. Watson and David P. Mindell (2005) Prioritizing species conservation: does the Cape Verde kite exist? Proc. R. Soc. B 272: 1365–1371 [1]

External links[edit]