May 22 2012
Did you know these facts about black kites?
- They live on four continents — Europe, Asia, Africa and Australia — but not in North or South America.
- Black kites are probably the most numerous raptor in the world. (I’m not sure who’s counting, so I’ll have to take their word for it.)
- They eat almost anything: lizards, birds, small mammals and insects. They even scavenge at garbage dumps.
- Unlike most raptors black kites form huge flocks, especially in winter.
- In Australia black kites flock to eat grasshoppers when there’s a grasshopper plague. Gulls did this in Utah.
- Black kites are also attracted to smoke and fires because they catch prey escaping the fire.
If you want to see black kites in Pittsburgh, your opportunity is coming soon. The National Aviary’s Sky Deck show features trained black kites who swoop and wheel to catch food in the air.
Sky Deck opens Memorial Day weekend and runs through Labor Day, weather permitting.
(photo of a black kite from Wikimedia Commons. Click on the photo to see the original)