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Mississippi Kite - BirdForum Opus

Photo © by Chaiyan
Des Moines, Iowa, Augus 2003
Ictinia mississippiensis


31–38 cm (12¼-15 in)

  • Long pointed wings


  • Grey overall plumage
  • Paler head, neck and underparts
  • Slate-grey primaries


Photo © by dacol
Gainesville, Florida, USA, August 2016

North, Central and South America.
A summer visitor to the eastern USA from Kansas, Oklahoma and Texas east to Georgia and northern Florida. Most common in the Great Plains but range is expanding and now occurs north on the Atlantic coast to the Carolinas, in the Mississippi Valley to Illinois and west to Colorado, New Mexico and Arizona.

Passage birds occur through eastern and southern Mexico and Central America. They winter in Paraguay and northern Argentina.


This is a monotypic species[1].


Open country with scattered groups of tall trees.



Their main diet consists almos entirely of insects, such as cicadas, grasshoppers, beetles and dragonflies. They also eat some amphibians.


Pre-migratory flocks form by early Aug on breeding grounds.


Click on photo for larger image


  1. Clements, J. F., T. S. Schulenberg, M. J. Iliff, D. Roberson, T. A. Fredericks, B. L. Sullivan, and C. L. Wood. 2018. The eBird/Clements checklist of birds of the world: v2018. Downloaded from http://www.birds.cornell.edu/clementschecklist/download/
  2. White, C.M. & Marks, J.S. (2019). Mississippi Kite (Ictinia mississippiensis). In: del Hoyo, J., Elliott, A., Sargatal, J., Christie, D.A. & de Juana, E. (eds.). Handbook of the Birds of the World Alive. Lynx Edicions, Barcelona. (retrieved from https://www.hbw.com/node/52975 on 29 July 2019).

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