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Swallow-tailed kite (Elanoides forficatus) Costa Rica
Courtship of this hawk capture of photos

Swallow-tailed Kite
(Elanoides forficatus)

Swallow-tailed Kite March 20, 2011: Joel and Monica McCrady where touring with me around Fila Costera in the Southern Pacific portion of the country. We were hoping to find a Bat Falcon which we didn’t find. However we found one of the most interesting raptor shows I have ever seen. After seeing a pair of Swallow-tailed Kites copulating we tryied to locate tehm again for a photo.

Swallow-tailed Kite I remembered I had seen them in the past breaking dead little branches to build a nest in this same general area so we drove a bit and stop in a little look out point. As we stepped out of the car we had a group of Swallow-tailed Kites on the tree right in front of us, quite exciting already!.

Swallow-tailed Kite About 6 individuals were perching and a few were flying around the tree! After several minutes of watching we observed some males carrying good size preys as they circle the tree. Then they would perch next to females and show them the prey, females wouldn’t take the gift and males will continue to approach them in a very interesting courtship ritual. The most impresive preys included tree frogs and lizards.

The kite on the left was carrying a tree frog, we could have certainly win the contest!

Swallow-tailed Kite This other kite had managed to catch a lizard.

Swallow-tailed Kite I love this photo. Look at the very aerodynamic shape of the body and the bent tail that provides direction. Perfect evolutionary design for this magnificent fliers.

Swallow-tailed Kite After a few minutes the kites quit their ritual and started bringing little twigs and lichens to work on their nests. We located two nests within a 50 meter diameter area.

Noel Ureña

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