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Kites a bird of pray

These include hawks, eagles, kites, falcons, caracaras and the osprey,all of which hunt for food and are collectively called raptors. About 50 species have been recorded in Costa Rica, and many are hard to tell apart because of similar plumage and flight. Being hunters, they rely on stealth and speed, which makes them hard to observe closely; identification is difficult without binoculars. Raptors are, however common throughout the country. Kites are among the most frequently seen and easily identified ones.

A long deeply forked, black tail distinguishes the American shallow-tailed kite (elanio tijereta; Elanoides forficatus) from other raptors. It has a white head and underparts, black back, and black-and-white wings. It feed on the wing, plucking insects out of the air or grabbing small lizards from branches, and is normally seen flying gracefully in areas with some humid forests (but not in the drier northwest). The black-shouldered kite (elanio coliblanco; Elanus caerulus) is a small white hawk with black shoulders and a light gray back and primary feathers. The feet are yellow and the yellow bill is tipped black. This bird was first reported in Costa Rica in 1958 but has now become common in open agricultural areas and grasslands.

Pictures by Angela and Jörn Malek. The team of Discovery Travel World wishes you the best of times in our little paradise called Costa Rica.

Text by Lonely Planet.

Picture 1, Kites, Costa RicaPicture 2, Kites, Costa Rica
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