Note:  Do not rely on this information. It is very old.


Kite, a popular name for any one of a loosely defined group of birds of the family Falconidaj (q.v.), with weak, untoothed bill, long, pointed wings, and the tail generally long and, in most cases, forked. They are widely distributed, and feed on small vertebrates and offal, and one South American form subsists chiefly on fresh-water molluscs. The type-genus Milvus, with six species, ranges over the Old World and Australia. The Common Kite (M. ictinus) is about 2 feet long, with brown plumage on the upper surface, where the feathers are edged with red, and rufous below. It is rare in Britain, but in the 16th century was common in the streets of London, and was as useful a scavenger as is M. govinda, the Pariah Kite, in Indian cities at the present day. M. isurus, the Australian form, is crested.