The Brahmin Kite is a bird of prey recognized as the national symbol of Jakarta. In India, this species is considered the sacred bird of Vishnu. The island of Langkawi in Malaysia is named after the Kawi Brahmin kite, which means a bird that is buffy like a stone. The main colors of bird plumage are used to decorate ceramics.
On the island of Bougainville there is a legend about how the mother left the child under a banana tree in the garden, the child looks up to the sky, and cries, and turns into a Brahmin kite.
Brahmin Kite (Haliastur indus).
Brahmin Kite appearance
The Brahmin Kite is a medium-sized bird of prey in the hawk family. This species was described in 1760 by the French ornithologist Maturin Jacques Brisson.
The Brahmin kite has other names - chestnut-white kite, red eagle, red-back kite, bald kite, bald sea eagle.
Spread of the Brahmin Kite
The Brahmin Kite is distributed in Australia, Southeast Asia, the Indian Subcontinent, except for the dry northwest region. Found in Bangladesh, Brunei, Cambodia, China, India, Indonesia. Lives in Laos, Vietnam, Macau, Malaysia, Myanmar, Nepal, Pakistan. Papua New Guinea. Breeds in Philippines, Singapore, Solomon Islands, Sri Lanka, Taiwan, Thailand, East Timor.
External signs of a Brahmin kite
The Brahmin kite is the same size as the black kite.
It has the typical flight of a kite, with angled wings, but its tail is rounded in contrast to other species of kites that have a forked tail.
The plumage of adult birds is a contrasting white head and chest with a reddish-brown feather cover of the body. On this basis, Brahmin kites are easy to distinguish from other birds of prey. Young birds are colored paler. The light spot under the wings in the brush area is in the shape of a square.
Brahmin Kite habitats
Brahmin Kites are found in coastal areas and inland wetlands. They settle on rivers, estuaries, swamps, clearings, often hunt above the forest canopy. But be sure to stay close to water in forest glades, forest edges, gardens and savannahs. They mostly prefer the plains, but sometimes appear in the mountainous regions of the Himalayas above 5000 meters.
Brahmin kites live off the coast or in swamps, where they feed on fish and other prey.
Features of the behavior of the Brahmin kite
Brahmin Kites are usually found singly or in pairs, but always in small family groups. Birds patrol along coastlines, roads and rivers in small flocks of three. When Brahmin kites are not hunting, they sit on open perches in trees. Young birds can play with the leaves of trees, they drop them and try to catch them in the air. When fishing over water, they can sometimes dip into the water, but this procedure goes without any problems.
Brahmin Kites spend the night together in large, isolated trees.
About 600 birds gather in one place during the night. But such clusters are very rare.
Brahmin kites are capable of attacking in a flock
on larger predators such as steppe eagles. In some cases, even such majestic birds fell prey to Brahmin kites.
Brahmin Kite Feeding
Brahmin kites have a varied diet, which includes small birds, fish, insects. Poultry prey is collected from the surface of the water or foliage.
Both parents build the nest and feed the chicks, but probably only the female incubates.
Birds soar low, scanning the seashore, beaches and harbors for the presence of small predatory animals or carrion, thrown out by the tide. Found prey picks up on the fly and often eats it right away. Brahmin Kites regularly search trash around harbors and landfills for food.
Feathered carnivores are prone to theft and can take captured prey from other birds of prey.
There is a known case when a Brahmin kite snatched a caught fish from a dolphin's mouth in the Mekong River. And one resourceful kite ate all the honey in the hive, in spite of the angry bees.
Birds are also attracted to steppe fires, when panic-stricken prey easily falls into the birds' claws. They catch small birds, hares, bats, amphibians, pick up carrion, including fish and snakes thrown ashore. In New Guinea, Brahmin Kites regularly hunt in the forest. Crabs are spotted on the seashore.
Breeding Brahmin Kite
In southern and eastern Australia, there are two breeding periods: from August to October and from April to June in the north and west of the range.
The breeding season for Brahmin Kites in southern Asia lasts from December to April.
Birds nest in the same place for several years in a row. Nests are built in isolation from other birds. Neighboring pairs are located at least one hundred meters apart, most often on mangroves. It is extremely rare that the nest is located directly on the ground. The nest looks like a large platform made of small twigs, leaves, bark, and manure. It is located at a height of 2 to 30 meters from the surface of the earth at a fork in the branches of a tall tree. Dry leaves serve as a lining.
Brahmin kites, found in Malaysia, lay out the bottom of the nest with dry mud.
Perhaps this is how birds protect chicks from ticks. Birds use nests for breeding for several years, adding only a little branches. In a clutch there are two or three light-white or bluish-white oval eggs with small brown specks measuring 52 x 41 millimeters.
The male and the female build the nest, both parents feed the offspring, but it is assumed that only the female incubates the clutch. Chick development lasts 26-27 days. The entire nesting period extends to 50-56 days. As a rule, one chick survives to plumage, but sometimes there are successful broods of two or three young birds. Chicks of Brahmin kites become independent at the age of two months.
Birds adhere to a permanent habitat.
Conservation status of the Brahmin Kite
The Brahmin Kite is globally ranked as Least Concern. Not on the IUCN Red List.
Reasons for the decrease in the number of Brahmin Kite
On the island of Java, the number of birds is dramatically decreasing. The number of birds is decreasing, especially in Southeast Asia, due to loss of habitat, persecution, and excessive use of pesticides. One of the reasons is the increase in the standard of living of people, and the disposal of garbage and waste, which leads to a decrease in the number of dead animals that the Brahmin kites feed on.
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