Bird Kites We Have Seen

A Range Of Types, Shapes And Sizes!

Aren't bird kites great! I'll never forget heading off down the jetty at a local kite festival one day, and catching sight of a seagull swooping low amongst some of the nearest kites.

For just a moment, I actually thought the pearly white bird with orange beak was a kite! The gull had wings outstretched and was not flapping at the time, which enhanced the illusion.

A bit of a trawl through our archives of kite festival photos yielded a surprising variety of designs which were based on bird species. In the sections below there's a few photos, with comments on each, regarding construction and flying characteristics.

In a few places on this website, I mention how the well-known delta design can be rather bird-like in flight. Particularly when the design is high aspect-ratio. That is, much wider tip-to-tip than the fore-and-aft length. It's not hard to make one for yourself...

Making The MBK Dowel Delta Kite is a handy e-book of printable step-by-step instructions. It's a PDF file download.

3D Bird Kites With Solid Spars

Isn't this one a real beauty! Walking up over a sand dune towards the jetty, this eye-catching bird kite came into view. It was flying low, but steady as anything and was tethered near the other side of the jetty.

Just couldn't resist pulling out the camera...

Bird kites don't come much better than this sparred 3D example...'Bird' hovers low over the jetty

If you look carefully near the tail, you can see some solid spars holding the shape. Could be dowel, since anything fancier would surely be a bit thinner. The body is 3D, with some sort of smooth shell covered in the sail material. You can also see dowel spars through the sail material of the wings.

A really nice touch is those wing-tip 'feathers'. In real life, these give eagles and hawks a performance boost by reducing drag forces. Thus the wing becomes more efficient.

Some reading on the topic of these kinds of kites gave me the impression they are not always successful fliers! You have to wonder what the history of the pictured kite was. How many prototypes were modified or scrapped before this one took off and really proved its airworthiness?

An update: I have now met the owner. Apparently this kite was his first construction attempt ever! Remarkable.

The 'Light-Wind Eagle'

Featuring fiber-glass spars and quite realistic artwork on the sail fabric.

A 'Light Wind Eagle' kite seen in Singapore.Fiberglass and nylon Eagle

On a trip to Singapore to meet with relatives there, I discovered that my brother-in-law Terry had bought this fine-looking kite. Near the end of our stay, we got a chance to go to a local flying spot and put the kite up. There it is in the photo, sharing the sky with numerous other kites of all descriptions.

Plenty of Bird kites and Deltas! In fact, up near the top left edge of the photo, I'm fairly sure the high-flying kite was another identical Light-Wind Eagle. Must be popular!

The photo isn't the greatest, but the printed design on the kite fabric is very realistic. Almost photo-realistic from a distance. The material would be either rip-stop nylon or perhaps polyester.

Construction was different to anything I had ever seen, with a long bowed fiber-glass rod holding the wings outstretched. In flight, this resulted in a kind of soggy feel, somewhat like many store-bought Deltas. In other words, any sudden increase in line tension would tend to get absorbed by the kite, before it wallowed upwards in response. More rigid kites tend to zip rather than wallow!

This eagle kite could be a little tricky low down, becoming more stable at higher line angles and of course in the smoother air up higher. But we had fun, in the very light, shifty winds on the coast of Singapore. Another characteristic worth mentioning... Above a certain wind-speed, this kite actually starts to flap quite realistically!

A Delta In Disguise - The Phoenix

Now, if you have trawled around this site quite a bit over the years, you have probably bumped into this photo before...

A Firebird Delta we saw at a kite festival.A hot Delta design

It's an example of a Delta kite dressed up as a bird kite. A bit fake near the nose, where it's just painted-on, but getting fancier along the trailing edge!

See how the flames dance in the wind, and the bird actually has a flaming tail too.

The Delta's sail is a light sky-blue. Trying to hide it against the sky I guess, to heighten the flaming-bird illusion! Or perhaps not, since clear plastic would do an even better job of that...

A really nice Delta kite if you ask me, with pretty standard construction. Floating leading-edge spars and rigid spreader.

Hilarious! The Owl Inflatable

This Owl Inflatable kite brings a touch of humor as it floats above the sand.Eye-catching Owl inflatable

Funny or cute or something. Whatever it is, this kite is another eye-turner. It's quite a good size, but doesn't compare with the biggest of the kite-festival inflatable giants. Does it belong with the other bird kites on this page?

Well, owls are birds, so it seems logical enough to me! To take the analogy further, owls are very quiet in the air, as are most single-line kites. Alright, alright, moving on...

This kite looks good from a long distance because of the bold shapes and colors used in its construction. No spars of course, just cleverly designed openings on the upwind side to keep the shape inflated and generating a modest amount of lift to keep the kite off the sand.

Another Inflatable

Another Inflatable Owl Kite. Not quite as striking design-wise, in my humble opinion. But perhaps more visible due to the choice of Day-Glo Orange!

Another Owl Inflatable, quite large in size.And another Owl, on the same day

Not sure about this, but it might have been a lot bigger than the other Owl up there, too. That 4 Wheel Drive vehicle parked on the sand was there as an anchor for a truly enormous Dragon show kite!

That's it for Bird Kites. Hope you enjoyed the pictures!

If winds are often fairly light around your place, here's a design that's just made for it...

Making The MBK Dowel Delta Kite is a handy e-book of printable step-by-step instructions. It's a PDF file download.

Need winders, reels, flying line?

We earn a small commission if you click the following link and buy something. The item does not cost you any more, since we are an "affiliate" of Amazon.

Click here to buy anything you need. Just use the Search box in there if you need different weights or lengths of line, for example.

P.S. Keep an eye out for books by kite author Glenn Davison, a prominent kite person in the USA.

What's New!

  1. The Dowel Rokkaku Kite

    Oct 17, 18 06:00 AM

    This previously published page is a flight report featuring the 1.2m (4ft) span Dowel Rokkaku kite. Read how the kite performs in light winds and thermals...

    Read More


Plenty of fun kite info, photos and videos - there's definitely too much here for only one visit! Feel free to leave your impressions of this site or just this page, below...

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"Love the easy to understand step by step instructions, made from next to nothing materials and above all so much fun to fly... cheers Tim for sharing your well thought out pdf kite designs with the whole world.

Very satisfying making your own and watching them get air-born for the first time."


"I decided to run kite making as an elective again on this camp in the past week - so I bought all your e-books, a bunch of materials, and then took a group of 10 high school students through making the kites over 4 days. We built a diamond, a Barn Door, a Delta, and two skew delta kites. Again - every single kite flew."


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Very detailed and USEFUL information - thanks for such a great book."


"30+ years ago, I tried making a kite using the 'instructions' in a free kite-safety booklet. What a disappointment for a young boy.

 Your instructions and methods are wonderful. You help the builder to focus on accuracy, without making it hard. Also, you use materials that are durable, yet cheap!"


"omg i made a kite from this site and i fly it ....... booom i didnt expect this bc in the other sites instuction are trash

thank you"

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Wind Speeds

Light air
1-5 km/h
1-3 mph
1-3 knots
Beaufort 1

Light breeze
6–11 km/h
4–7 mph
4–6 knots
Beaufort 2    

Gentle breeze
12–19 km/h
8–12 mph
7–10 knots
Beaufort 3    

Moderate breeze
20–28 km/h
13–18 mph
11–16 knots
Beaufort 4    

Fresh breeze
29–38 km/h
19–24 mph
17–21 knots
Beaufort 5    

Strong breeze
39–49 km/h
25–31 mph
22–27 knots
Beaufort 6

High Wind
50-61 km/h
32-38 mph
28-33 knots
Beaufort 7