Scissor-tailed Kite

Chelictinia riocourii

The scissor-tailed kite (Chelictinia riocourii), also known as African swallow-tailed kite or fork-tailed kite, is a bird of prey in the monotypic genus Chelictinia in the family Accipitridae. It is widespread in the northern tropics of Africa. The scissor-tailed kite is a small, slim grey and white kite with a relatively weak bill, a broad head, long pointed wings and a deeply forked tail. The adults are generally pale grey above and white below, with a white forehead and a black patch around the eyes. In flight the dark greyish flight feathers contrast with the inner underwing edges, there is also an obvious black bar across the carpal. Juveniles are darker on the back with rufous edges to the feathers and creamier below. It has a distinctive almost tern like flight and frequently hovers into the wind like a kestrel. The red eyes of the adult are also a distinctive feature.
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