Swallow-tailed kites

W H 512 Swallow-tailed Kite

Swallow-tailed kites (Elanoides forficatus), known for their aerial grace, swallow-tailed kites rarely flap their wings during flight and frequently eat, drink, and bathe “on the wing” (while flying). In South Carolina, swallow-tailed kites are closely associated with forested wetlands and they show a strong preference for nesting in loblolly pines growing near or on the edges of wetlands. When these habitats are not available, they will build nests in bald cypress or water tupelo. Research shows the Refuge and surrounding area support the highest density of nesting swallow-tailed kites in South Carolina and is the northernmost documented nesting site for this species. The best place to see these magnificent birds is at the visitor center where they are frequently seen flying right over the building.