name of an elegant, medium-sized raptor with the former scientific
designation Elanus caeruleus. Since recently it has been listed as
Elanus axillaris, a name originally used for the Black-winged Kite and
which is growingly being used to refer to the Black-shouldered Kite.
This 28-35 centimeter tall hawk is easily recognized by its very light
plumage and long pointed wings with black on the shoulder (fig.). It is overall
very pale grey with a white head and white underparts. Adults have dark
reddish-ruby eyes, while juveniles (fig.)
have yellow irises, a streaked crown, a back which is brown tinged with
white tips, and a buff breast wash. This common
resident is widespread throughout Thailand and can frequently be seen
hovering over cultivated plains and other open areas, such as rice
paddies, hunting for small rodents and reptiles, as well as for large
insects. In Thai, it is known as
yih-ao khao, meaning ‘white hawk’.
See also WILDLIFE PICTURES.