Verification of Unusual Sight Record
For Utah

Rec. # 2005-09

Common name:

White-tailed Kite

Scientific name: Elanus leucurus
Date: April 9, 2005
Time:  ~2:30p
Length of time observed: 20-30 minutes
Number: 1
Age: Adult
Sex: unknown
Location: Washington Fields, Y-Drain outflow, north end of Seegmiller
County: Washington
Latilong: 19
Elevation: ~820 m
Distance to bird: 25 m
Optical equipment: 10 X 42 binoculars, 20-60 x Ziess scope
Weather: clear and very windy with strong gusts
Light Conditions: bright afternoon light
Description:        Size of bird:  
(Description:)       Basic Shape:  
(Description:)  Overall Pattern:  
(Description:)            Bill Type:  
Field Marks and
Identifying Characteristics:
Relatively small black and white raptor. Perched very upright. Head, chest, belly, and tail white; nape and back light gray; wings light gray with a broad black shoulder patch on upper wing
coverts. Legs, cere, and gape bright yellow. Bill relatively small and strongly hooked. Eyes bright red with black loral patch. Wings long and pointed nearly reaching the end of tail.  (see photos)
Song or call & method of delivery: none
Behavior: It was perched the majority of time in a dead tamarisk, however occasionally it would get spooked by a passing Northern Harrier and fly for a minute or so before returning to its perch. Flight light and bouyant despite strong winds.
Habitat: Agricultural fields adjacent to the Virgin River and extensive cattail marsh
Similar species and how
were they eliminated:
Mississippi Kite has uniform gray
undersides and dark tail (rather than white).

Northern Harrier, male with darker head (pale but not white), banded
tail with white rump patch, and no black shoulder patch.
Previous experience with
this & similar species:
I've watched both White-tailed and Mississippi Kites several times.
References consulted:  
Description from: Notes made later
Observer: Rick Fridell
Observer's address: 3505 West 290 North, Hurricane, UT 84737
Observer's e-mail address:
Other observers who independently identified this bird:  
Date prepared: April 19, 2005
Additional material: Photos
Additional comments: