Brahminy kite

Haliastur indus

The brahminy kite , also known as the red-backed sea-eagle in Australia, is a medium-sized bird of prey in the family Accipitridae, which also includes many other diurnal raptors, such as eagles, buzzards, and harriers. They are found in the Indian subcontinent, Southeast Asia, and Australia. They are found mainly on the coast and in inland wetlands, where they feed on dead fish and other prey.
Pair of Brahminy Kites at dawn, Bundula, Sri Lanka Taken during the early morning on the path towards the Bundula park entrance. Asia,Brahminy Kite,Bundula,Haliastur indus,Sri Lanka

Appearance

The brahminy kite is distinctive and contrastingly coloured, with chestnut plumage except for the white head and breast and black wing tips. The juveniles are browner, but can be distinguished from both the resident and migratory races of black kites in Asia by the paler appearance, shorter wings, and rounded tail. The pale patch on the underwing carpal region is of a squarish shape and separated from ''Buteo'' buzzards.

The brahminy kite is about the same size as the black kite and has a typical kite flight, with wings angled, but its tail is rounded unlike the ''Milvus'' species, red kite, and black kite, which have forked tails. The two genera are, however, very close.

The call is a mewing ''keeyew''.
Brahminy kite ????  Bald Eagle,Birds,Birds of Prey,Brahminy kite,Geotagged,Haliastur indus,India,Summer,fishing birds,waterbirds,wildlife,winter

Distribution

This kite is a familiar sight in the skies of Sri Lanka, Nepal, India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, and southeast Asia and as far south as New South Wales, Australia, through which region it is widespread and resident. They perform seasonal movements associated with rainfall in some parts of their range.

They are mainly seen in the plains, but can sometimes occur above 5000 feet in the Himalayas.

It is evaluated as being of least concern on the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. However, the species is on the decline in some parts such as Java.
Brahminy Kite closeup  Brahminy Kite,Geotagged,Haliastur indus,India,Winter

Status

This kite is a familiar sight in the skies of Sri Lanka, Nepal, India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, and southeast Asia and as far south as New South Wales, Australia, through which region it is widespread and resident. They perform seasonal movements associated with rainfall in some parts of their range.

They are mainly seen in the plains, but can sometimes occur above 5000 feet in the Himalayas.

It is evaluated as being of least concern on the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. However, the species is on the decline in some parts such as Java.
Fight for Food Two kites fighting for prey at Mangalajodi Black Kite,Brahminy Kite,Brahminy kite,Fall,Geotagged,Haliastur indus,India

Behavior

The breeding season in South Asia is from December to April. In southern and eastern Australia, it is August to October, and April to June in the north and west. The nests are constructed of small branches and sticks with a bowl inside and lined with leaves, and are located in various trees, often mangroves. They show considerable site fidelity nesting in the same area year after year. In some rare instances, they have been seen to nest on the ground under trees. A clutch of two dull-white or bluish-white oval eggs measuring 52 x 41 mm is laid. Both parents take part in nest building and feeding, but likely only the female incubates. The incubation period is about 26 to 27 days.

It is primarily a scavenger, feeding mainly on dead fish and crabs, especially in wetlands and marshland, but occasionally hunts live prey such as hares and bats. They may also indulge in kleptoparasitism and attempt to steal prey from other birds. Brahminy kites have even been recorded taking advantage of Irrawaddy dolphins herding fish to the surface, in the Mekong River. A rare instance of a bird feeding on honey at the hive of ''Apis florea'' has been recorded.

Young birds may indulge in play behaviour, dropping leaves and attempting to catch them in the air. When fishing over water, they may sometimes land in the water, but manage to swim and take off without much trouble.

They roost communally on large and isolated trees and as many as 600 have been seen at one location.

They may mob larger raptors such as the ''Aquila'' eagles. In some incidents where brahminy kites mobbed steppe eagles , they were attacked and injured or killed.

A number of ectoparasitic bird lice in the genera ''Kurodaia'', ''Colpocephalum'', and ''Degeeriella'' have been reported.
Brahminy kite in flight || Sunderbans || Dec 2020 Brahminy kite,Haliastur indus

Cultural

Further information: :GarudaKnown as elang bondol in Indonesia, the brahminy kite is the official mascot of Jakarta. In Hinduism, it is considered as the contemporary representation of Garuda, the sacred bird of Vishnu. In Malaysia, the island of Langkawi is named after the bird .

A fable from central Bougainville Island relates how a mother left her baby under a banana tree while gardening, and the baby floated into the sky crying and transformed into ''Kaa'nang'', the brahminy kite, its necklace becoming the bird's feathers.

For the Ibans of the Upper Rajang, Sarawak, Borneo, a brahminy kite is believed to be the manifestation of Singalang Burung when he comes down to earth. Singalang Burung is the ultimate deity of incomparable qualities and superior abilities in every dimension. He is also known as the god of war.

References:

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Taxonomy
KingdomAnimalia
DivisionChordata
ClassAves
OrderAccipitriformes
FamilyAccipitridae
GenusHaliastur
SpeciesH. indus