Big variety of Kites

The Brahmany Kite can be found around the north of Australia.

In our families of the Birds of Prey, we have a small group of six birds that are known as Kites. Four of these are considered large members, the other two are small Kites.

In an earlier column, we have looked at the member of the Kites that has the most numbers in this region, the Black Kite also called the Fork-tailed Kite.

The Whistling Kite is another of the large Kites that is found all over the continent in large numbers. This is a true scavenger just like its counterpart the Black Kite and can be seen flying over the rubbish tips. It is a slow flier with long wings and a long tail rounded at the end.

The Square-tailed Kite is similar in appearance to the previous two and is also found all over Australia. It has white spots under its wings which can be seen when this bird is in flight. It tends to be more of a loner and flies low over the tree tops in search of small animals, birds and insects.

The fourth large Kite is the Brahmany Kite (pictured) which is quite different to the other three with rich brown colouring on its upper plumage, with a white head, neck and under feathers. This is a bird of the coastal regions around the top of Australia above the Tropic of Capricorn. They are also scavengers finding scraps , dead fish and the like.

Of the two small Kites, the Black-shouldered Kite was in the column a few weeks ago. The Letter-winged Kite looks quite similar to it, both being mainly white all over with patches of black. When the Letter-winged flies overhead, the black markings under its wings are said to look somewhat like a letter ‘M’.