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American Swallow-tailed Kites Elanoides forficatus in the Azores.


In 2008-08-25 an unidentified bird of prey was photographed at Feteiras, So Miguel by Duarte Arajo. A photo of the bird was in September published on the internet site of Grupo de Fotografia de Natureza, and the bird was identified as a Swallow-tailed Kite. After research and contact with the photographer we are now able to publish two more photos on this bird (see below). This bird was seen by Duarte Arajo in the area around Vigia das Feteiras from 24/8 to 7/9.

American Swallow-tailed Kite Elanoides forficatus at Vigia das Feteiras, So Miguel 2008-08-25. (Photo: Duarte Arajo).

American Swallow-tailed Kite Elanoides forficatus at Vigia das Feteiras, So Miguel (Photo 2008-08-28: Duarte Arajo).

   However, this is not the first Swallow-tailed Kite reported from the Azores. Already in 2005-03-17 one bird was sighted on Flores, but this time with no photo evidence. This bird was seen by Paulo Eduardo Cardoso and Inês do Rosário (both biologists) in the afternoon near the harbour of Lajes. The bird was seen flying, and Paulo Eduardo Cardoso who has previous experience of the species from Brazil, has given a good description of the bird.
   There are only one previous record from the Western Palearctic: One bird 19-23 March 1993 at Costa Calma, Fuerteventura, Canary Islands (Mller H.E., Lippert K. (1998) : Schwalbenweihe Elanoides forficatus auf Fuerteventura - eine neue Art fr die Palarktis. Limicola 12 : 80 - 84.).
   American Swallow-tailed Kites migrate between Florida and Brazil and both March and late August fits well with their normal migration periods.

   Staffan Rodebrand, Sweden.

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