Square Tailed Kites are found across most of mainland Australia except for the south east and the arid interior. The tail, as the name suggests, is diagnostic for in-flight identification: where the Black Kite has a forked tail and the Whistling Kite has a rounded tail, the trailing edge of the Square Tailed Kite's tail is straight, or "squared off."
Square Tailed Kites are not vocal like other kites. They make very few calls and have soft, quiet voices. They have relatively long wings (the primary flight feathers, when the wings are folded, extend past the tail feathers) short legs and the adults have a distinctive whitish face with yellow irises.
Arboreal hunters, Square Tailed Kites specialise in catching small birds, reptiles and insects. They very rarely scavenge or hunt on the ground. Square Tailed Kites are, by necessity, extremely agile and manoeuverable in flight as they hunt almost exclusively in the canopies of trees.