The taxonomic status of the white-tailed kite

The Wilson Bulletin
By:  and 



The White-tailed Kite (Elanus leucurus) of the Americas has been merged with the Black-shouldered (or Black-winged) Kite (E. caeruleus) of the Old World and the Australian Black-shouldered Kite (E. axillaris) by North American authorities (but not elsewhere), primarily because of similarity in plumage. However, American kites differ from Old World kites in greater size and weight, in proportions (relatively longer tail and smaller bill and feet), plumage pattern (particularly of juveniles), and in behavior. Here we argue that these characters are sufficiently distinctive to warrant recognition of E. leucurus at the species level.

Additional publication details

Publication type Article
Publication Subtype Journal Article
Title The taxonomic status of the white-tailed kite
Series title The Wilson Bulletin
Volume 104
Issue 4
Year Published 1992
Language English
Contributing office(s) Patuxent Wildlife Research Center
Description 571-579
Larger Work Type Article
Larger Work Subtype Journal Article
Larger Work Title Wilson Bulletin
First page 571
Last page 579