Black-shouldered Kite Sandy Hollow.jpg
Black-shouldered kite (Elanus axillaris)
Scientific classification e
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Aves
Order: Accipitriformes
Family: Accipitridae
Subfamily: Elaninae
Genus: Elanus
Savigny, 1809
Type species
Falco caeruleus
Desfontaines, 1789

Elanus is a genus of bird of prey in the elanine kite subfamily. It was introduced by the French zoologist Jules-César Savigny in 1809 with the black-winged kite (Elanus caeruleus) as the type species.[1][2] The name is from the Ancient Greek elanos for a "kite".[3]

The genus contains four species:[4]

Image Common Name Scientific name[a] Distribution
2011-black-winged-kite.jpg Black-winged kite Elanus caeruleus
(Desfontaines, 1789)
Iberian Peninsula, Africa, Indomalaya and New Guinea
Black-shouldered Kite Sandy Hollow.jpg Black-shouldered kite Elanus axillaris
(Latham, 1801)
Elanus axillaris distribution.svg
Elanus leucurus -Piraju, Sao Paulo, Brazil-8.jpg White-tailed kite Elanus leucurus
(Vieillot, 1818)
Letter-winged Kite (Elanus scriptus)4.jpg Letter-winged kite Elanus scriptus
Gould, 1842
Elanus scriptus range map.png

The first three species above were considered conspecific as subspecies of Elanus caeruleus, which has been known as the black-shouldered kite.[5][6][7]

These are white and grey raptors of open country, with black wing markings and a short square tail. They hunt by slowly quartering the habitat for rodents and other small mammals, birds and insects, sometimes hovering like a kestrel.