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6

Brahminy Kite

(Haliastur indus)
Alternate name(s): "Red-backed Sea Eagle", "White-headed Sea Eagle", "Rufous-backed Sea Eagle", "Salmon-hawk", "Rufous-backed Fish-hawk", "Red-backed Kite"
Size: 45 cm (male), 50 cm (female); wing span 1.1-1.3 m
Weight: 530 g (average)
Description     Classification     Distribution     Sightings     Photos     Breeding     Nest     Eggs     Behaviour     Food     Call/s

Physical description

Click here for a physical description

Taxonomy, classification

See Brahminy Kite at Wikipedia .

Range, habitat, finding this species

Click here for information on habitat and range

Sightings

Click here for sighting information

Photos

Race "girrenera"

ADULT

Near-frontal view of a Brahminy Kite (photo courtesy of J. Greaves)
[Maxwell Creek, Melville Island, NT, November 2016]

Dorsal view of a Brahminy Kite
[Byfield NP, QLD, July 2009]

The same Brahminy Kite as above, now with its head turned
[Byfield NP, QLD, July 2009]

Frontal view of a Brahminy Kite in flight
[Limeburners Creek NP, NSW, October 2013]

Brahminy Kite soaring in an updraft
[Limeburners Creek NP, NSW, October 2013]

The same Brahminy Kite as shown above, now having a good look at the photographer down below
[Limeburners Creek NP, NSW, October 2013]

This Brahminy Kite is controlling the lift of its wings by partly folding them
[Darwin, NT, August 2014]

Lateral view of a Brahminy Kite in flight
[Limeburners Creek NP, NSW, October 2013]

Near-dorsal view of a Brahminy Kite in flight
[Limeburners Creek NP, NSW, October 2013]

Brahminy Kite just after takeoff; note the particularly long upper mandible of this raptor
[Bundjalung NP, NSW, February 2012]

Lateral view from above onto the upperwing pattern of a Brahminy Kite in flight
[Limeburners Creek NP, NSW, October 2013]

Dorsal view from above onto the upperwing pattern of a Brahminy Kite in flight
[Limeburners Creek NP, NSW, October 2013]

Different phase of the wingbeat
[Limeburners Creek NP, NSW, October 2013]

Two Brahminy Kites seen on stakes, waiting for the photographer to clear out
[Near Old Bar, NSW, June 2011]

IMMATURE/JUVENILE

Near-frontal view of a juvenile Brahminy Kite (photo courtesy of B. Hensen)
[Casuarina Coastal Reserve, Darwin, NT, in July 2012]

Behaviour

Social behaviour: Territorial Mobility: Sedentary Elementary unit: Solitary/pair

Similar to some other species of raptors, Brahminy Kites can sometimes be seen to hunt in pairs
[Limeburners Creek NP, NSW, October 2013]

Food, Diet

Adults: Dead fish, carrion Dependents: As adults Water intake: None

All raptors are carnivores. Brahminy Kites feed on small fish and occasionally other small animals. They also scavenge on carrion.

During the first few weeks, raptors feed their chicks with pieces of meat. Later on in their development, the chicks learn to tear apart their parents' prey.

These pages are largely based on our own observations and those of our contributors. The structure of these bird pages is explained HERE. For more salient facts on any bird species please refer to a field guide.

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