Mississippi KiteIctinia mississippiensis
12-14" (30-36 cm). W. 3' (91 cm). A small bird of prey with narrow pointed wings. Adult gray, paler below and on head; tail and outer flight feathers in wings blackish, inner flight feathers whitish. Young bird streaked below, with banded tail.
2 or 3 high clear whistles, seldom heard.
Open woodlands and thickets, usually near water.
Breeds from Arizona and southern Great Plains east to Carolinas and south to Gulf Coast. Its range has expanded somewhat in recent years; increasingly wanders north to southern New England in spring. Winters in tropics.
This graceful, buoyant kite is a marvelous flier and spends hours in the air. It is quite gregarious, often seen in flocks and even nesting in loose colonies. Although chiefly insectivorous, feeding largely on grasshoppers and dragonflies, it occasionally takes small snakes and frogs.
2 or 3 white eggs in a stick nest placed in a tree.