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6

Whistling Kite

(Haliastur sphenurus)
Alternate name(s): "Whistling Hawk", "Carrion Hawk"; misnomer: "Whistling Eagle"
Aboriginal name(s): "djando" (WA); "kirrkie"

Size: male 50 cm, female 65 cm; wing span up to 1.7 m
Weight: 380-1050 g

Back to the Whistling Kite main page .

In the winter of 2022 we found a pair of Whistling Kites nesting on the edge of a swamp at Yarrie Lake near Wee Waa, NSW. Their timing was such that egg-laying occurred in autumn and the single chick they raised fledged in the middle of winter (the first week of August). 2022 was the second year in a row with a La Nina event, leading to above average rainfall in eastern Australia and Yarrie Lakeand the associated swamp were consistently full, ensuring the availability of prey.

Presumably the same couple had a single chick in the winter of 2022/23 and were starting their preparations for nesting again in March 2024.

In favourable conditions Whistling Kites can nest in autumn and have their offspring fledge in the middle of winter
[Yarrie Lake, near Wee Waa, NSW, April 2022]

About 3.5 months later, we found that the pair had been successful in raising one chick.

While the fledged chick was found on a nearby perch, one of the parents flew to the aerie; the fledgling's begging calls were recorded (below)
[Yarrie Lake, near Wee Waa, NSW, August 2022]

whskite_20220806.m4a (NW NSW) Fledgling begging & parent responding © MD

The adult must have left food on the nest, because then the young bird returned and plucked its meal on the nest; most likely it did not know yet how to hold on to the prey while feeding
[Yarrie Lake, near Wee Waa, NSW, August 2022]

When finished with its meal, the young Whistling Kite left the nest again
[Yarrie Lake, near Wee Waa, NSW, August 2022]

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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