Differs from smaller common buzzard by the longer, forked tail and the narrower wings, which are more acutely angled backwards in flight. Although much the same size, African marsh-harrier has a longer, square-ended tail and flies with the wings canted up; black kite has a floppy flight action and twists its long tail for steering. It differs from yellow-billed kite in having a black bill (but a yellowish cere), a paler greyer head and a less deeply forked tail.
Juvenile has buffy feather margins.
Diverse; from forest edge to savanna and semi-desert. Often found in flocks at termite emergences.
A high-pitched, shrill whinnying.