Verification of Unusual Sight Record
For Utah

Rec. # 2011-73

Common name:

White-tailed Kite

Scientific name: Elanus leucurus
Date: December 12-31+, 2011
Time: various
Length of time observed: 30-60 minutes cumulative
Number: 1
Age: immature
Location: Washington Fields, wet meadow and Hela Seegmiller Park areas
County: Washington
Latilong: 19
Elevation:  ~ 820 m
Distance to bird: 20-200 m
Optical equipment: 8 x 42 binoculars, 20-60x scope
Weather: various
Light Conditions: various
Description:        Size of bird:  
(Description:)       Basic Shape:  
(Description:)  Overall Pattern:  
(Description:)            Bill Type:  
Field Marks and
Identifying Characteristics:
Quinn and I observed an immature White-tailed Kite in the Washington Fields flying over the Hela Seegmiller historic park area southwest of the intersection of 2450 South and
3000 East. We lost the kite over the wet meadow area across the road from George Washington Academy; Quinn eventually relocated it perched on a short tamarisk in the fields north of the three red-and-white radio towers. It typically perched low to the ground on fence posts, and also spent alot of time kiting and hovering over these areas. We called Steve & Cindy Sommerfeld, Dan Trujillo, Jane Day, Kevin & Pam Wheeler, and Larry Tripp who showed up and were able to see the kite. I also observed the kite in the same areas on December 19, 20, 21, 24, and 31. Also observed by many additional birders


Short and hooked black bill with a yellow cere. Legs and feet yellow-orange. Head white with brown smudgy streaks on crown and nape and large eye (with orange-red iris), and black feathering in front of eye. Undersides white with indistinct chestnut collar. Wings gray and white with white edging on scapulars, secondaries (forming wing bar), and tertals, with black primaries and prominent black shoulders. Tail white (including upper and undertail coverts) with slight gray edging on tips of retrices.
(see photos)
Song or call & method of delivery: na
Behavior: see above
Habitat: wet meadows, pasture, and agricultural areas
Similar species and how
were they eliminated:
Previous experience with
this & similar species:
References consulted:  
Description from: Notes taken at time of sighting
Observer: Rick Fridell
Observer's address: Hurricane, UT
Observer's e-mail address:
Other observers who independently identified this bird: many observers have been able to relocate the kite including Rob Dobbs, Meribeth Huizinga, Dan Trujillo, Jane Day, Steve & Cindy Sommerfeld, Kevin & Pam Wheeler, Larry Tripp, Laurie Rasmussen, Denise Blyn, Jeff Cooper, Bill Hunter, Steve Carr, Ned Bixler, Pat Jividen, etc.
Date prepared: 12-31-2011
Additional material: Photos
Additional_Comments: description copied from field notes.