Status Common breeding migrant, abundant passage migrant and accidental resident or winter visitor (Karpov and Belyalov 2009).
Habitat From semi-deserts to woodlands, often near water; mainly in lowlands and foothills, up to 1,960 m in the central Tien Shan (Berezovikov 2007).
Distribution Widespread breeder in Kazakhstan. Absent from Mangghystau province and the deserts. During migration, throughout Kazakhstan. The largest numbers (tens of thousands) have been observed at the Chokpak pass in the Talasskiy Alatau foothills. Gatherings of non-breeding, mainly immature birds are found in summer, for instance, flocks of 250 birds in the Volga-Ural sands (Lindeman et al 2005). Winter records: 13 February 2009, Panfilov, one bird (Karpov and Belyalov 2009); 10 December 2014, Almaty, two birds (Berezovikov 2014).
Migration From early March to mid-May, and from early August to mid-November (Belyalov 2008; Berezovikov 2012) (September).
Note Hybrids between Black-eared and Black Kites M migrans regularly occur in Kazakhstan (Dick Forsman in litt; Arend Wassink pers obs) and are likely to be increasingly common from east to west. during spring migration in western Mangghystau province (Le Neve et al 2010/NARC-IFHC; Kadirov 2012). Further investigation is needed to clarify the status of both species. Hence, they are treated together here.