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I usually check Wikipedia first to get a summary of kites (or other
families and genera) of the world birds (so you don't end up with hand-held
kites) and work from there. As taxonomy changes occur it often has a
discussion of the changes and a little on the ranges of the various similar
species around the world and the subspecies that may at times be considered
full species. Below is clipped from:
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kite_(bird). One would have to check further
in some of the most recent taxonomies to see what is most current and if
Wikipedia needs to be updated.

Brad Jacobs


Genus *Elanus <https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Elanus>*

   - Black-winged kite
<https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Black-winged_kite>, *Elanus
   caeruleus  Subsaharan Africa and tropical Asia*
   - Black-shouldered kite
   <https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Black-shouldered_kite>, *Elanus axillaris
    Australian*
   - White-tailed kite
<https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/White-tailed_kite>, *Elanus
   leucurus North and South America*
   - Letter-winged kite
<https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Letter-winged_kite>, *Elanus
   scriptus Central Australia, only nocturnal Accipitrid or Falconid raptor.*


On Thu, Oct 20, 2016 at 8:35 PM, D. Pierce <[log in to unmask]> wrote:

> Christine: There are now 2 separate species.
> The Black Shouldered Kite (Elanus axillaris) is an Australian bird
> Our U.S. Bird found in South Texas formerly was the Black Shouldered, but
> the name was changed.
> Our Texas bird is now the White Tailed Kite (Elanus leucurus).
> It is confusing for sure.:-)
> Dave Pierce
> St. Louis County
>
> On Thu, Oct 20, 2016 at 8:16 PM, Christine Kline <
> [log in to unmask]> wrote:
>
>> I am very confused about the Black-shouldered Kite:
>>
>>
>>
>> It does not appear in my Sibley or Peterson guides, but it is in the
>> Birds of Texas guide.
>>
>> Wikipedia says it can be found in Australia, but there are three range
>> maps for it that include the southern US, South America, Asia, Africa, and
>> Australia.
>>
>> The USFWS has done a breeding and habitat survey on it for the state of
>> Texas, but other than a range map and an old guide, there’s no indication
>> they are found in the US.
>>
>>
>>
>> Here is the description from the Birds of Texas guide:
>>
>> Gray above; white below; red eyes and yellow legs; black shoulders; in
>> flight note white tail and silvery wings with baclk wrist mark.  Immature:
>> Rusty wash on back, head, and breast.  Habits:  Often hovers while
>> foraging.  Voice: A shrill “kee kee kee,” etc.  Habitat:  Prairie, savanna,
>> thorn forest.  Texas:  common winter resident (Nov. – Mar.), uncommon
>> summer resident* along cenral and lower coastal plain.  Range:  Resident
>> from Oregon, California, Oklahoma, and Louisiana south to central
>> Argentina; also in Old World tropics and subtropics.
>>
>>
>>
>> Can someone tell me about the Black-shouldered Kite and how it differs
>> from the White-tailed Kite?  If it can be found in the US, why isn’t it in
>> our guides?
>>
>>
>>
>> *Christine Kline*
>>
>> *Chair, Communications & Events*
>>
>> *Co-Chair, Wings Over Weston*
>>
>>
>>
>>
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>
> --
> D. Pierce
> Senior Dogs 4 Seniors
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The Audubon Society of Missouri's Wild Bird Discussion Forum
ASM Website: http://mobirds.org/
ABA Birding Code of Ethics
http://www.aba.org/about/ethics.html