1231. Milvus migrans.
The Black Kite.
Falco migrans, Bodd. Tabl. Pl. Enl. p. 28 (1783). Falco ater, Gmel. Syst. Nat. i, p. 262 (1788). Milvus migrans, Strickl. Orn. Syn. p. 133; Blanf. East. Pers. ii, p. 114; Hume, S. F. vii, p. 344; id. Cat. no. 56 quat.; Barnes, S. F. ix, pp. 215, 452; C. Swinhoe, Ibis, 1882, p. 100; St. John, Ibis, 1889, p. 153.
This is distinguished from M. govinda by having the edges of the feathers on the crown and nape whitish instead of light brown or rufous, and by the more distinctly ferruginous colour of the abdomen. As a rule, too, there is in the present form little or no mottling or banding on the basal portion of the quills in adults.
Length of female about 23 ; tail 11; wing 17 ; tarsus 2.1; bill from gape 1.65. Males are rather smaller.
Distribution. Africa, Southern Europe, and South-western Asia, The Black Kite only comes within our area, so far as is known, in Southern Afghanistan around Quetta. Capt. Barnes found it breeding about the [Khojak, between Quetta and Kandahar, in March and April.
Habits, &c. Similar to those of M. govinda, and this bird haunts towns in the Levant as M. govinda does in India. Similarly in. former times M. ictinus acted as scavenger in London and other European cities.