In Alabama during: Summer
SCIENTIFIC NAME: Elanoides forficatus (Linnaeus)
OTHER NAMES: Fork-tailed Hawk, Swallow-tailed Hawk, Snake Hawk, Fish Hawk.
STATUS: Breeder. Uncommon and local in summer, and rare in early fall in Inland Coastal Plain and Gulf Coast regions. Occasional in spring and summer in Tennessee Valley and Mountain regions. HIGH CONSERVATION CONCERN.
DESCRIPTION: A medium-sized (48-61 cm [19-24 in.]) raptor readily identified by long pointed wings, and deeply forked tail. Sexes similar; head, neck, underparts, and under-wing coverts white; back, upper-wing coverts, and all wing and tail feathers black, but appear bluish in direct sunlight. Scapulars, marginal coverts, and lesser upper-secondary coverts darker than back and have a blackish iridescent sheen; bill and legs dark. Juveniles similar to adults except for buff streaking on head, neck, and chest, narrow white margins on flight feathers, and considerably shorter tail (Meyer 1995; Meyer and Collopy 1995, 1996). Typical call a series of two to four notes, klee-klee-klee-klee, usually given when disturbed around nest and roost sites, and during agonistic encounters or courtship. Other vocalizations include tew-whee, eeep, and a soft chitter (Meyer 1995). Two subspecies recognized but debated, E. f. forficatus and E. f. yetapa, with only the nominate race occurring in the southeastern United States (Meyer and Collopy 1996).