Hatch Year: 2017
Arrival to WBS: 2017
Sex: Unknown
Reason for Residence: nerve damage to left wing and imprinted on humans

Eclipse hatched in Florida and was found as a young bird dehydrated, and unable to fly. She was taken to a rehabilitation center where upon admittance it was noted that she seemed to crave companionship. Calling back when she heard voices she recognized and highly comfortable with human touch, these signs hinted strongly that at an even earlier age Eclipse had been exposed to humans and was almost certainly imprinted. Coupled with her continued inability to fly, she was deemed non-releasable and was transferred to World Bird Sanctuary. Her striking colors and long wings and tail certainly causes her to catch the eyes of all our guests when she is spending her summers on the display line.

Vocal as ever, the moment Eclipse sees or hears one of her trainer’s she immediately starts to call out to them! She enjoys getting enrichment in her enclosure and particularly likes pouncing on small balls and dragging them about her enclosure. Eclipse is an easy going bird who is happy to work with a wide array of trainers, and is always excited to meet new people. She is also hopeful that these new friends will have a tasty treat just for her, as snacks are some of her favorite things in the world!


Swallow-tailed Kites have lost much of their historic U.S. range – they used to occur along the Mississippi as far as Minnesota – but populations grew between 1966 and 2014, according to the North American Breeding Bird Survey. Partners in Flight estimates their global population at 150,000 with about 3{b72fa993cab2ff905a1f39ebf084228b79c40acc45be2f64cc4166a48c73e45e} breeding in the United States. The species rates a 14 out of 20 on the Continental Concern Score. Swallow-tailed Kite is a Tri-National Concern Species, and is on the 2014 State of the Birds Watch List, which lists bird species that are at risk of becoming threatened or endangered without conservation action. Historically, the U.S. breeding range covered at least 16 states, but it is now restricted to 7 southeastern states, with most of the population breeding in Florida. Several states still regard Swallow-tailed Kites as a species of strong conservation concern

Scientific Name: Elanoides forficatus
Description: large but slender and buoyant raptors. They have long, narrow, pointed wings, slim bodies, and a very long, deeply forked tail. The bill is small and sharply hooked.Color pattern is a sharp contrast of bright-white head and underparts and gleaming black wings, back, and tail. From below, the wing linings are white and the flight feathers are black.
Sex: male and females appear similar
Age: up to 6 years
Length: 19.7″-25.2″
Wingspan: 48″
Weight: 13.1-21.2 oz.
Habitat: swamps, marshes, and large rivers of the southeastern U.S., particularly in Florida. At the end of summer, all the Swallow-tailed Kites in the U.S. leave and migrate south to South America.
Range: Southeastern United State and South America

Behavior: Swallow-tailed Kites spend most of their time in the air, capturing and swallowing their food in flight. Rarely flapping their wings, they soar and make tight turns, rotating their tail to steer. They are very vocal when alarmed or when clashing with other members of their own species. Breeding pairs appear to be monogamous, and they may either pair up during migration or carry over their relationship from previous years. They establish small territories around and above the nest, and maintain them by flying silently in circles above the nest tree. Intruders are chased with loud scolding. Multiple pairs may nest near each other in “neighborhoods,” and nonbreeding birds often hang around carrying food and nest materials to breeding females (which reject the gifts). Swallow-tailed Kites often roost communally near nests, and right before migration hundreds of kites may roost together.

Diet: Swallow-tailed Kites primarily eat flying insects, but during the breeding season they also hunt small vertebrates, including tree frogs, lizards, nestling birds, and snakes. Less commonly, they also eat bats, small fish, and fruit. Stinging and biting insects such as wasps and ants form an important part of the species’ diet.

Vocalization: When disturbed, Swallow-tailed Kites give a loud, squeaky whistle, usually repeated several times. To deter a predator, they may call while circling and attract up to 20 or more other kites to join in on the effort. During courtship they give a long, upward-slurring whistle.

Fun Facts!
– Swallow-tailed Kites eat many stinging insects including wasps and fire ants. In Florida, the kites often return to their nests with whole wasp nests, eat the larvae, and add the insect’s nest into their own nest. Their stomachs are thicker and spongier than the average raptor stomach.

– There are two subspecies of Swallow-tailed Kite, but they look very similar and only one of them occurs in the U.S. (it is slightly larger and more purplish-black); the other subspecies is native to Central and South America.

*information about Swallow-tailed Kites from

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