Excerpts from Jim Conrad's
Naturalist Newsletter

White-tailed Kite, ELANUS LEUCURUS MAJUSCULUS

from the September 25, 2011 Newsletter issued from written at Mayan Beach Garden Inn 20 kms north of Mahahual, Quintana Roo, México
WHITE-TAILED KITE, BACK VIEW

A month ago we got a frontal view of a White-tailed Kite {see below}. This week we were granted a back view, as shown above. It's interesting that this bird's tail isn't really white. Howell describes the juvenile's tail as "pale grey with dusky subterminal bar." I'm not sure about that subterminal bar, but the tail certainly is gray.


from the August 28, 2011 Newsletter issued from written at Mayan Beach Garden Inn 20 kms north of Mahahual, Quintana Roo, México
WHITE-TAILED KITE

Besides shorebirds, the wood-rail and Pygmy Kingfisher, other birds are magically appearing for the first time this season. For instance, on Friday for the first time at this location I saw what's shown below:

White-tailed Kite, ELANUS LEUCURUS MAJUSCULUS

At first I thought he was a Mississippi Kite, which does migrate through Mexico to its wintering grounds in South America. However, the migration route within Mexico passes south of the Yucatán. What's in the picture is the similar looking White-tailed Kite, sometimes called Black-shouldered Kite, ELANUS LEUCURUS MAJUSCULUS. In the field the species' black shoulders most easily distinguish it from the Mississippi Kite, which has grayish shoulders. White-tailed Kites are permanent residents in open country with scattered trees, marshes and irrigated agricultural lands from the US Southwest to central Chile and Argentina.