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

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
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

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

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

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

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!

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.

Back to top of page


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. Flight Report:
    Tetra Takes Off

    Dec 14, 18 01:55 AM

    It's been a bit of an uphill battle getting a decent flight out of the heavy, crudely put-together 10-cell tetra... Earlier today the breeze was great but misty rain persisted for hours on end. Finall…

    Read More

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

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

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

Strong ...
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

Like/share this site...

Like/share this page...

Comments

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...