原版书书名：Data Analysis with Open Source Tools
The animal on the cover of Data Analysis with Open Source Tools is a common kite, most
likely a member of the genus Milvus. Kites are medium-size raptors with long wings and
forked tails. They are noted for their elegant, soaring flight. They are also called “gledes”
(for their gliding motion) and, like the flying toys, they appear to ride effortlessly on air
The genus Milvus is a group of Old World kites, including three or four species and
numerous subspecies. These kites are opportunistic feeders that hunt small animals, such
as birds, fish, rodents, and earthworms, and also eat carrion, including sheep and cow
carcasses. They have been observed to steal prey from other birds. They may live 25 to
30 years in the wild.
The genus dates to prehistoric times; an Israeli Milvus pygmaeus specimen is thought to be
between 1.8 million and 780,000 years old. Biblical references to kites probably refer to
birds of this genus. In Coriolanus, Shakespeare calls Rome “the city of kites and crows,”
commenting on the birds’ prevalence in urban areas.
The most widespread member of the genus is the black kite (Milvus migrans), found in
Europe, Asia, Africa, and Australia. These kites are very common in many parts of their
habitat and are well adapted to city life. Attracted by smoke, they sometimes hunt by
capturing small animals fleeing from fires.
The other notable member of Milvus is the red kite (Milvus milvus), which is slightly larger
than the black kite and is distinguished by a rufous body and tail. Red kites are found only
in Europe. They were very common in Britain until 1800, but the population was devastated by poisoning and habitat loss, and by 1930, fewer than 20 birds remained.
Since then, kites have made a comeback in Wales and have been reintroduced elsewhere