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Photo: Yellow Billed Kite


We loved this picture of a yellow billed kite taken by guest Joanne Norris. While this intra-African migratory bird is commonly seen on our Eastern Cape game reserve between August and May, like any bird of prey, they are notoriously difficult to catch on film!

Yellow Billed Kite Intra-African Breeding Migrant

The yellow billed kite is one of the first migratory birds to arrive in southern Africa. They are welcomed from as one of the first signs of our southern hemisphere summer (November to March)! They migrate annually to central-east Africa from late March each year.

The birds eat mostly small rodents, frogs and insects. They can sometimes be seen in November and December during impala lambing season eating the afterbirth.

A fairly large bird, about 55 cm in length and with a wingspan approaching one and a half metres, the yellow billed kite is an impressive specimen. Its plumage is mostly brown and it has a distinctive yellow bill, as beautifully depicted in Joanne's photo. 

When in flight the bird is fascinating to watch as it uses its tail as a very active rudder. This distinctive feature, together with it's bright yellow bill, makes this bird of prey easy to identify. 

Let us know if you have seen the beautiful yellow billed kite while on safari at Kariega Game Reserve by emailing or leave a comment below.