Black Kite (Pariah kite)

Black Kite

(Milvus migrans)

Size(60-65cm): Medium sized raptor. Just a little small than the Greater-Spotted Eagle.

Area: All India till about 2000m in Himalayas. Above that subspecies M. m. lineautus exists.

Habitat: Forests, human inhabitation and cultivation.

My two words: The birds has a dark brown plumage with paler head and neck. Underparts have streak. The tail is forked.  The outer flight feathers are black and the feathers have dark brown bars and with some mottling at the base. The legs and bill are black. The ceres and the interior of the mouth are yellow.

Black kite is often called Eagle by children and even grown-ups in towns and cities which is slightly bigger in size than the Black Kite and the Kite has a forked tail which is not seen in the Eagle (Greater-spotted/ Indian-spotted/ Steppe/ Tawny Eagle). Black Kite can be differentiated from the Red Kite by its less forked tail.

The Indian subspecies (M. m. govinda and M. m. lineautus) breed during January and March. Eggs are usually 2 in number. Both the male and the female contribute towards making a nest which is a rough base of twigs etc. The nest is often reused.

The diet is the same as that of the Shikra-small animals, rodents, small reptiles and smaller birds.

The call is musical whistling which they utter frequently during breeding season.

 ~Arjun Basandrai

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