Black Kite


(Hindi name: Cheel)

You can spot this commonly found bird soaring and gliding in the sky. Also you can see them settled together on tall tree. The bird can spot prey from high in the sky and this ability is used as proverb ‘Cheel ki najar’ for someone who has got very sharp vision.

In this article we will explore where to spot this bird, and learn more about its habits and habitat.

Habitat: Best places to spot Black kite

The black kite occupies a wide variety of natural and artificial habitats. It is found at wetlands, river edges, savannah and woodland to villages, towns and cities. The species does not normally occur in dense forests, pure deserts and high mountains.

Nesting Habits

Both male and female take part in nest building. The nest is a rough platform of twigs and rags placed in trees. Though it builds a new nest, sometimes it will occupy old nests built or abandoned by other black kites or other species.

Food Habits

Black kite is usually glide and soar in search of food. Swooping down with lowered legs it snatches small live prey, fish, household refuse and carrion. It is opportunistic hunter and has been known to take birds, bats and rodents.


Plumage: How does this bird looks?

Black kite is a diurnal medium sized raptor. It is probably the world’s most abundant bird of prey. It is smaller in size than red kites with less forked tail. Black kite has dark brown eyes.

Its average mass is 540 gms. Range length is 47 to 60 cms. Average length is 55 cms and wingspan is around 150 cms.

Black kite vary in colour from moderate to dark brown, with irregular light-brown and rufous markings. The upper parts are brown, but the head and neck are paler. The lower parts of body are pale brown which become lighter towards chin. It has streaked appearance. The bill is black and hooked. The cere, gape and legs are yellow and the claws are black. Both sexes are similar, but female is longer than male.


The breeding season is winter in India (mainly Jan and Feb). Black kite is believed to be monogamous. The aerial courtship consists of extremely loud calls to one another. In addition, it performs a dangerous display known as grappling, where it lock their feet together in mid-air and begin to spiral towards the ground. Female lays 2-3 eggs/year. Incubation period is averagely of 32 days. Female incubates eggs and male provide food to female and to their young ones.


Black Kite is very much gregarious species particularly when feeding and roosting.


Flight of black kite is buoyant and the bird glides with ease, changing directions easily.

Black kite migrates seasonally.

Classification :

  • Kingdom – Animalia
  • Phylum – Chordata-
  • Class – Aves
  • Order – Accipitriformes
  • Family – Accipitridae
  • Genus – Milvus
  • Species – M. Migrans
  • Binomial Name – Milvus Migrans


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