Rufous-thighed Kite (Harpagus diodon)

Rufous-thighed Kite

[order] ACCIPITRIFORMES | [family] Accipitridae | [latin] Harpagus diodon | [authority] Temminck, 1823 | [UK] Rufous-thighed Kite | [FR] Milan diodon | [DE] Braunschenkel-Weih | [ES] Milano Muslirrufo | [NL] Roodbroekwouw


Monotypic species


Members of the genus Harpagus are small kites with rather short and rounded wings. The size difference between the sexes is more noticeable than with most kites. The bill is small but stout; the edges of the upper mandible have two tooth-like projections, used to dismember insects and reptiles. The talons are strongly curved and very sharp. The genus comprises of two species; both of which live in the tropical forests of Central and South America.

Physical charateristics

It is a small kite, slate-grey above and pale-grey below with shortish wings and a longish tail. It has rufous thighs and rufous wing-linings when seen from below.

Listen to the sound of Rufous-thighed Kite

[audio: Kite.mp3]

Copyright remark: Most sounds derived from xeno-canto

wingspan min.: cm wingspan max.: cm
size min.: 30 cm size max.: 35 cm
incubation min.: 0 days incubation max.: 0 days
fledging min.: 0 days fledging max.: 0 days
broods: 1   eggs min.: 1  
      eggs max.: 3  


South America : East Amazonia, Southeast South America


Dense undisturbed rain forest. It hunts in the iddle to lower strata. Data not undisputed.


Not well known, nest is built of twigs and lined with leaves, clutch size probably 2 eggs.

Feeding habits

Not well known, probably chiefly larger insects and meaby lizards. Hunts with bird eating species (Bicolored Hawk) to avoid mobbing by small birds. Sometimes follows ant streams and found near monkeys to feed on flushed insects.

Video Rufous-thighed Kite


copyright: Richard Garrigues


This species has an extremely large range, and hence does not approach the thresholds for Vulnerable under the range size criterion (Extent of Occurrence <20,000 km2 combined with a declining or fluctuating range size, habitat extent/quality, or population size and a small number of locations or severe fragmentation). Despite the fact that the population trend appears to be decreasing, the decline is not believed to be sufficiently rapid to approach the thresholds for Vulnerable under the population trend criterion (>30% decline over ten years or three generations). The population size may be moderately small to large, but it is not believed to approach the thresholds for Vulnerable under the population size criterion (<10,000 mature individuals with a continuing decline estimated to be >10% in ten years or three generations, or with a specified population structure). For these reasons the species is evaluated as Least Concern.
The Rufous-thighed Kite is distributed in the central and eastern part of the Amazon Basin south through Brazil to northern Argentina, Paraguay and eastern Bolivia. Common in Suriname but not in the coastal area.
Rufous-thighed Kite status Least Concern


Very little data available, thought to be sedentary.

Distribution map

Rufous-thighed Kite distribution range map

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