Gray-headed Kite

The Grey-headed Kites Leptodon cayanensis is a raptor found in open woodland and swamp forests. It shares the genus Leptodon with the extremely rare White-collared Kite.

Grey-headed Kite

Distribution / Range

It breeds from eastern Mexico and Trinidad south to Peru, Bolivia and northern Argentina.

Nesting / Breeding

The nest is of sticks lined with grass and built high in a tree. The clutch is a one or two white eggs, purplish at one end and spotted brown.


The Gray-headed Kite is 46-53 cm in length and weighs 410-605 g.

The adult has a grey head, black upperparts, white underparts, and a black tail with two or three white bars. The bill is blue and the legs grey. .

Immature birds have two colour morphs; the light phase is similar to the adult, but has a white head and neck, with a black crown and eyestripe, black bill and yellow legs. The dark phase has a blackish head, neck and upperparts, and dark-streaked buff underparts.

The flight is a deliberate flap-flap-glide

Diet / Feeding

The Gray-headed Kite feeds mainly on reptiles, but also takes frogs and large insects.

It usually sits on an open high perch from which it swoops on its prey.

Calls / Vocalization

The call is a mewling keow.

More Kite Information

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Gordon Ramel

Gordon is an ecologist with two degrees from Exeter University. He's also a teacher, a poet and the owner of 1,152 books. Oh - and he wrote this website.

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