Black-shouldered kite II

Black-shouldered kite with outstretched wings on a weathered stick in the grasslands of Tal Chhappar, Rajasthan, India.

About the Black-shouldered kite

The Black-shouldered kite (Elanus caeruleus) or black-winged kite is a small raptor in the family Accipitridae, which includes many other birds of prey such as eagles, buzzards, and harriers. These ashy gray birds have distinctive black patches on their shoulders and piercing red eyes, conspicuous at rest as well as in flight. The black-winged kite primarily favours open land and semi-deserts in Asia and sub-Saharan Africa, but it can also be seen in Europe in Spain and Portugal. Their prey includes insects, reptiles, amphibians, small birds and rodents. 

You can find out more about Black-shouldered Kites 

About Tal Chhapar:

Tal Chhapar Wildlife Sanctuary is located in Northwestern Rajasthan on the fringe of the Great Indian Desert; The Thar. This small grassland habitat is surrounded by sparse scrub and dry dusty plains peppered with salt pans. Originally a hunting ground for the Maharaja of Bikaner it was declared a sanctuary in the 1960s.

India’s Grasslands are home to some of its most endangered species, many of which are endemic. This important habitat now only exists in a handful of places in India and is sadly becoming increasingly scarce.

This stunning grassland wasn’t always the paradise seen today. After decades of neglect and encroachment by the nearby salt production the sanctuary was in a sorry state. Thanks to efforts coordinated by Mr. S.S.Poonia, the range forest officer at Tal Chhapar, over the years the grassland has been transformed. After gradually stripping away the invasive plant; Prosopis juliflora a variety of grasses were planted such as Mothiya grass, a favourite of the blackbucks, which derives its name from ‘moti’ meaning pearl, as its sweet seeds look like pearls. The final result is vast swathes of pristine grassland bustling with animal life. 



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Black-shouldered kite with outstretched wings on a weathered stick in the grasslands of Tal Chhappar, Rajasthan, India.


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