Mississippi Kite

Immature Mississippi Kite

Photo: David Holland

MISSISSIPPI KITE

Mississippi Kite
Ictinia mississippiensis

The Mississippi Kite is a summer resident in parts of north Texas and southeast states. They have a very definite line where they nest. Very rarely do you find them in Dallas, but in Sherman and north, they are very common. These birds migrate to Central America and south in the winter. They begin migration early, August to September, and have been known to abandon young in favor of migration.

Species information:

Length:            14”
Wingspan:       30”
Weight:           10 – 12 oz.

Plumage:  Adults are almost all gray with a black tail and a dark red eye. Immature birds have rusty stripes on their chest, gray wings with white spots and a black tail.

Habitat: Found in grasslands with woods nearby.

Flight: Will kite over fields looking for prey.

Vocalization:  A high-pitched Pe-teeeeew, the second part is a descending whistle.

Food:  Insects caught and eaten while flying.

Nesting:  Found in trees next to fields. Made of twigs.  They usually lay 2 eggs that are incubated for about 30 days. Young fledge in about 5 weeks. Young are fed on the wing.

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