Birds – The Letter-winged Kite

(E. Scriptus) of Australia is so named from the fact that there is a black mark on the under surface of the wing, which, “following the line of the bones from the body to the pinion, assumes when the wing is spread the form of the letter V, or, if both wings are seen from beneath at the same time, that of a W, divided in the center by the body.” It is the smallest species, being only twelve inches long, and is a delicate ashy white above, except for the coverts and a patch on the outside of the wing, which are black, and pure white beneath. They are abundant in the interior of the country, always going in companies of from ten to thirty individuals, and even nesting in companies, as near as possible to one another. The nests are lined with the pellets ejected from their stomachs, these pellets being composed of the fur of the rats upon which they principally feed.