The Swallow-tailed Kite (Elanoides forficatus) formerly bred in Arkansas, but no nesting attempts were observed in the state for over a century. We initiated a study in 2001 to investigate the species' reproductive status in east-central Arkansas, USA. We located five nests between 2001 and 2009, all of which failed. Two nests were abandoned (one due to researcher caused disturbance), one failure was likely caused by a Red-shouldered Hawk (Buteo lineatus) or Barred Owl (Strix varia), one was suspected to be caused by a rat snake (Elaphe obsoleta), and one failed from unknown causes. Nests were built in overcup (Quercus lyrata) and Nuttall oaks (Q. texana) with a mean (± SD) diameter at breast height of 83.92 ± 7.20 cm, mean tree height of 31.28 ± 4.78 m, and mean projection of 7.15 ± 5.66 m above surrounding trees. Nests were at a mean height of 25.09 ± 4.85 m and positioned 0.30 ± 2.36 m above the surrounding trees. All nests were within a circular area 4 km in diameter. Our discovery of a nest in 2002 represented the first documented case of nesting Swallow-tailed Kites in Arkansas in >100 years and is a considerable (370 km) distance from the closest known nesting site in Louisiana.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics
- Animal Science and Zoology