Mississippi Kite

 Ictinia mississippiensis

Order:  Accipitriformes


Any Documents to attach, species spotlights, etc.

Husbandry Information

Housing Requirements

Diet Requirements

  • Bird of Prey diet alternated with mice throughout the week.

Veterinary Concerns

Notes on Enrichment & Training

  • Responds well to meal worms for training.


Colony or Breeding Management

Notes species is housed or managed socially or for breeding purposes.

Individual Identification

Dimorphism or practiced ways to individually mark species (such as those in colonies, like giant millipedes).

Programmatic Information


Temperature Guidelines



Tips on Presentation

Touching Techniques

Tips on Handling

  • Handle on hand with glove
  • Move slowly and deliberately, avoid areas with high activity
  • Transport box suggestions AZAs Ambassador Animals dialog, Raptor Rig and Varikennel.
  • A couple things to keep in mind, if using the handle on the top of the transport box do not rest the bottom on your hip. It will cause the box to bounce, this might lead to an uncomfortable ride and decrease the likelihood that the bird will go in the box on future occasions. If the perch is to low for the bird, their tail feathers may get painted with fecal matter which does not look good on presentation. Varikennel you are able to adjust the height of the perch.

Potential Messaging

  • Migration
    • Importance of stopover habitats.
    • Effects of climate change on migration patterns.
    • Life cycles
  • Awareness of native wildlife
  • Camouflage
  • Adaptations
  • Ecosystems

Acquisition Information

From rehabilitation clinics in Kansas/Missouri/Mississippi areas where orphaned or injured young are often available mid to late summer.

Comments from the Rating System

Lee Richardson Zoo: Our kite is an injured wild-born individual. She is easy to keep, but difficult in programs due to her high-strung nature. She is easy to train and handle in one-on-one sessions, but after many years it is still difficult to use her with groups.

Natural History Information

Range and Habitat


Physical Description


Life Cycle

Eggs are laid in northern migration habitats in May/June. Young fledge in late summer before fall migration in August/September. Birds overwinter in southern regions.



Threats and Conservation Status

Prejudices against birds of prey still persist among many who wrongly believe that they harm wildlife or present major threats to domestic animals. Biological studies have documented their ecological importance as major controls on rodent populations. Some birds of prey feed on snakes, insects or other potential pests. No species of raptor poses a significant threat to domestic animals.

Instruct guests to never litter, especially when they are in a car. Throwing trash out along the roads not only makes the roads less attractive, but can also attract animals to the sides of the road. Some of these animals might look appetizing to an owl, hawk, or other predator which are then more likely to be hit by passing vehicles.

Did you know…



Contributors and Citations

  • Lee Richardson Zoo

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