While sounding like a sweet bird, the Brahminy Kite is not to be trifled with. With piercing dark eyes and a strongly aquiline yellow beak, the bird is primarily a scavenger, feeding on dead fish and crabs. And in order to get its meal, it will readily steal fish from other birds, attacking its fellow sky cruisers such as Whistling Kites and Ospreys.
Found on the Indian subcontinent, South-East Asia, and Australia, the Brahminy Kite soars mainly around the coast, wetlands and marshes, where its lifeless food lies in waiting. However, the bird is also known to engage in a bit of live hunting when the going gets tough. Here a hare or bat will fall as unfortunate prey to its swift hunt.
A medium sized bird, the Brahminy Kite has a reddish brown plumage, along with a white head and breast, making them stand out from other airborne scavengers. The bird also has dark finger-like wing tips, and a short tail, while the juveniles appear a little browner than their parents.
In breeding, the Brahminy Kite favours August to October in the southern parts of Australia, and April to June in the western and northern areas. Interestingly, the bird usually nests in the one spot, typically in large, isolated trees, year after year. These nests are made up of small branches, twigs, leaves, lichen, bones, seaweed and even paper.
Making a piercing “keeyew”-like sound, the bird, in typical predatory fashion, soars the skies for signs of any weak and dying animals. They’re also particularly drawn towards fires in the hope of sighting a fleeing creature. Their numbers are thought be stable, largely because the Brahminy Kite is an opportunist, a survivor, that claws, swoops, pecks and tussles its way towards a good meal.
If you’re lucky, you might see one soaring at fairly low altitudes in and around the grounds of Thala.