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Black-shouldered Kite

Black-shouldered Kite
Photo Information
Copyright: Jan Hendrik van Rooyen (janhendrik) Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 363 W: 58 N: 667] (2392)
Genre: Animals
Medium: Color
Date Taken: 2006-09-10
Categories: Birds
Camera: Canon 20D, Canon EF 100-400mm L IS USM
Photo Version: Original Version
Theme(s): Birds of Southern Africa II [view contributor(s)]
Date Submitted: 2007-01-16 5:54
Viewed: 5178
Favorites: 1 [view]
Points: 48
[Note Guidelines] Photographer's Note
Black-shouldered Kite (Elanus caeruleus)

A common, grey and white raptor with a black shoulder. Size 33 cms - larger than a laughing dove. Afrikaans: Blouvalk.

The upperparts are bluish grey, with black wing coverts which appear as a distinctive, black shoulder patch. The underparts are white. There is a small black mask around the eye. Young birds have a reddish-brown wash on the head and breast and the feathers of the upperparts are tipped white. The bill is short with a sharp, hooked tip to the upper mandible. The bill is black, while the feet and legs, and the cere (skin at the base of the bill) are bright yellow. The eye is dark red in adults and brownish-orange in immature birds.

The Black-shouldered Kite is a common and obvious bird of the open veld and farming areas. It is usually seen perched on telephone- or power pylons or lines, In the absence of natural or man-made perches, it is able to hunt by hovering on upturned wings about 50 meters above the ground. When prey is sighted, the kite "parachutes" gracefully straight down into the grass. Black-shouldered Kites are highly nomadic - moving about in search of rodent prey.

The Black-shouldered kite eats mainly rodents as well as small birds and insects.

Breeding occurs all year round with a peak in the summer months. The nest is a small platform of sticks about 30cm in diameter, which is placed near the top of a tree in a fork.

SOURCE: Black-shouldered Kite


Camera: Canon 20D
Camera mode: Aperture priority
Time of day: 16H00
Date: 10 September 2006
Lens: Canon 100-400mm IS USM
Shutter Speed: 1/1250 sec
F-Stop: F/9.0
Focal Length: 400mm
Support: Hand Held
ISO: 200
Original file type: Raw (CR2)

goldfinchtr, scottevers7, Argus, jrubiocasado, vanderschelden, shal, jaycee, fiyo, Tamrock, pilonm, coasties, RAP, metcher, valy67, gerhardt has marked this note useful
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ThreadThread Starter Messages Updated
To cuckooroller: Namesjanhendrik 1 01-16 14:28
To vanderschelden: Bloujanhendrik 1 01-16 09:05
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Critiques [Translate]

  • Great 
  • marty Silver Star Critiquer [C: 22 W: 0 N: 0] (0)
  • [2007-01-16 6:13]

comp *****
pov *****
Bg/dof *****
Sharp *****
Subject ****
Difficulty ****
Exp *****

Very nice capture of this Black-shouldered kite...

Hi Jan Hendrik,
A beautiful shot on this Black-shouldered Kite. A perfect composition and pose. You managed the exposure very well with the colors and detail in the white plumage looking superb. Love those raptors!

  • Great 
  • Argus Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 5038 W: 260 N: 15594] (50626)
  • [2007-01-16 8:07]

Hello Jan-Hendrick,
Another fine bird posting!
This shot of a Black-shouldered Kite, though a little soft, is well presented and the lighting and pose are excellent.
TFS and best wishes, Ivan

Hola Jan
Muy bonito el "elanio azul", con una nitidez impresionante, te felicito por esta gran toma
Un saludo,

Hi Jan Hendrik,
Beautiful shot.
Excellent detail and sharpness.
Great compo.
Wonderful bird in a good pose, blouvalk...we call these birds also 'valk' in Dutch. 'Blou'? Ik dacht aan de kleur 'blauw'; in het Engels 'blue':-)?
Zeer goed werk

Hi Hendrik,
Lovely shot of this Black-shouldered Kite. Nice composition and pose.


  • Great 
  • shal Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 256 W: 64 N: 481] (2140)
  • [2007-01-16 10:35]

Hi Jan,
excellent details and framing,
good strong eye catching POV :)
Cheers :D

Hi Jan Hendrik,
Nice shot. Just a note on the taxonomy and the English Common Name of this bird. Unfortunately, Pete Ryan (Percy Fitzpatrick Inst., Capetown) did not see fit to amend the English Common Name on the latest Robert's List (the 7th Ed.), and has maintained Black-shouldered Kite (rather than the less confusing Black-winged Kite). Outside of Africa the Black-shouldered Kite is Elanus axillaris, but within Africa the correct scientific trinomen is Elanus caeruleus caeruleus. Exception made for Africa the Black-shouldered Kite axillaris is the name of the bird split from the former caeruleus-axillaris-leucurus complex of similar species, and axillaris denotes those birds that range only within Australia. Unfortunately, the on-line version of the SASOL gives only the English Common Name without the scientific binomen. The text version of the SASOL on P. 112 has Black-shouldered Kite (Elanus caeruleus). Sorry about being so windy, just to let you know the latin name is wrong.

  • Great 
  • badar Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Note Writer [C: 106 W: 0 N: 160] (785)
  • [2007-01-16 12:10]

Hi Jan,
Beautiful composition,hs eyes really bore into you.Look at me!
Badruddin Ali

  • Great 
  • jaycee Gold Star Critiquer/Silver Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 2454 W: 10 N: 8044] (25460)
  • [2007-01-16 12:40]

Hi Jan,

Beautiful shot of the Kite. What really strikes me are his claws - they look like hands! Beautiful pose, lovely colors.


hi jan!
very good photo on this fine bird
sharp with nice dof and pov
well done!

Hello Jan,

Excllent work, great colors bg pOV DOf perfect details very crisp, I really like the details and the eyes alot

TFS Kyle

  • Great 
  • pilonm Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 588 W: 90 N: 975] (3321)
  • [2007-01-16 15:11]

Hello Jan Hendrik,

What a wonderful picture where you managed perfectly the exposition in order to let us see all the different tones of white and black (not easy here)... The bird looks like a sculpture!!! Wonderful pov, great details and good natural colors!

Great shot and TFS,


You managed perfect exposure here, Jan. What distance were you from the subject? It is a beautiful, sharp image with a nice simple composition. That eye is rivetting.

Evelynn : )

  • Great 
  • jossim Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Note Writer [C: 1538 W: 5 N: 2240] (12636)
  • [2007-01-16 21:24]

Superbe oiseau et bravo pour les détails et le bel éclairage.

Hi Jan Hendrik

You have done a magnificent job here. The exposure is well handles. Nice catchlight in the eye and perfectly composed. Very nice work. :-)

  • Great 
  • fiyo Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Note Writer [C: 1053 W: 5 N: 3475] (15161)
  • [2007-01-17 3:57]

Hello Jan,well done on this beautiful capture. Well exposed and the colors are perfect. TFS

  • Great 
  • RAP Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 2524 W: 345 N: 2373] (7405)
  • [2007-01-17 7:56]

Otra excelente captura Jan Hendrik con apropiado punto de vista y un estético encuadre centrado sobre el ave, pero rompiendo dicha centralización con la presencia de las ramas.
Buenos detalles gracias a la correcta iluminación (apenas elevada), foco y agudeza captados con excelente definición sobre la cabeza del animal.
Un cordial saludo desde Buenos Aires... Ricardo

Another excellent capture Jan Hendrik with appropriate point of view and an aesthetic framing centered on the bird, but breaking up this centralization with the presence of the branches.
Good details due to the correct illumination (hardly high), focus and sharpness captured with excellent clearness on the head.
A cordial greeting from Buenos Aires... Ricardo

Hi, Jan.
What a beauty. Sitting in nice pose on the branch and looking somehow friendly. Difficult exposure with whites against sky is done well. Good sharpness also.

Hello Jan !
It's the first time I see this bird, he is so beautiful ! I love his pose, he looks proud and strong, and he has such a sharp look ! Details, colors, composition, POV and BG are truly splendid - like on all your pictures !
Very well done !

  • Great 
  • Viera Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Note Writer [C: 82 W: 0 N: 74] (494)
  • [2007-01-18 10:49]

Hi Jan,
perfect photo,I like it very much.Very nice model captured in good pose.I admire the sharpness of your photo.

  • Great 
  • twin Gold Star Critiquer/Silver Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 244 W: 17 N: 494] (3259)
  • [2007-01-21 12:04]

very very nice shot... I love this black shouldered...
well managed exposure...

congratulations Jan...

It's a lovely photo. The compo is great. Its very sharp and lots of detail. I do think that it could use a little contrast to get the whites whiter. I will try a WS later. Very well done.

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