Yellow-billed kite

The yellow-billed kite (Milvus aegyptius) is the Afrotropic counterpart of the black kite (Milvus migrans), of which it is most often considered a subspecies. However, recent DNA studies suggest that the yellow-billed kite differs significantly from black kites in the Eurasian clade, and should be considered as a separate, allopatric species.[1]

Yellow-billed kite
Milvus aegyptius -Limpopo, South Africa-8.jpg
Adult in Limpopo, South Africa
Yellow-billed Kite (Milvus aegyptius) juvenile (6041210797).jpg
Immature in the Kruger Park, South Africa
Scientific classification edit
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Aves
Order: Accipitriformes
Family: Accipitridae
Genus: Milvus
M. aegyptius
Binomial name
Milvus aegyptius
Gmelin, 1788
  • M. a. aegyptius
  • M. a. parasitus

There are two subspecies: M. a. parasitus, found throughout most of sub-Saharan Africa (including Madagascar), except for the Congo Basin (with intra-African migrations) and M. a. aegyptius of Egypt, south-west Arabia and the Horn of Africa (which disperses south during the non-breeding season).


As suggested by its name, the yellow-billed kite is easily recognized by its entirely yellow bill, unlike that of the black kite (which is present in Africa as a visitor during the North Hemisphere winter). However, immature yellow-billed kites resemble the black kites of the corresponding age.


It is mostly an intra-African breeding migrant, present in Southern Africa July–March and sometimes as late as May. It is generally common. There are no threats to this species as stated by the IUCN, due in part to the fact it has not yet be separated from the black kite.[2]

Habitat and feedingEdit

They are found in almost all habitats, including parks in suburbia, but rare in the arid Namib and Karoo. They feed on a wide range of small vertebrates[3] and insects, much of which is scavenged.


  1. ^ Jeff A. Johnson, Richard T. Watson and David P. Mindell (2005) Prioritizing species conservation: does the Cape Verde kite exist? Proc. R. Soc. B 272: 1365–1371 [1]
  2. ^ "Yellow-Billed Kite".
  3. ^ Meheretu Yonas; Leirs, H (2019). Raptor perch sites for biological control of agricultural pest rodents. In: Nyssen J., Jacob, M., Frankl, A. (Eds.). Geo-trekking in Ethiopia's Tropical Mountains - The Dogu'a Tembien District. SpringerNature. ISBN 978-3-030-04954-6.

External linksEdit