Brahminy Kite

Brahminy Kite

(Haliastur indus)

Size(45-50cm): Brahminy Kite is a medium sized raptor.

Area: It is found throughout the Indian landmass except for drier parts of Rajasthan and high altitude regions of Jammu and Kashmir and Himachal Pradesh.

Habitat: It is a Fish Eagle (Red-backed Fish Eagle) that is found near lakes, rivers, marshes, estuaries, lagoons and flood plains.

My two words: Adult Brahminy Kites have reddish-brown body contrasting to their white head, throat and breast. They are more reddish-brown on belly and tail. The bill is grey-white. There is a big black patch on the base of the wing.

Juvenile birds are rustier than adults. They are generally rusty-brown with wings fringed with rusty-buff. Their head is streaked and tail rusty-grey.

These birds are a familiar sight in the skies of Peninsular India where they are literally found in abundance. In places like Goa, the number of these birds is super high. During a trip to Goa in 2012, I was amazed to see these guys fill up the sky in just a few moments. But, on a school trip there, in 2018, I noted that their number had declined way too much. But still, there were many of them.

The breeding season is from December to March/April. The nest is generally made on mangroves. They nest in the same area every year. Eggs are two in number which take 20-25 days of incubation. Both parents take part in nesting and feeding but incubation is done primarily by the mother bird.

Young birds tend to indulge themselves in playful activities. When fishing they may drop into the r but coming out is no issue for them as they do it without much effort.

It is a scavenger. Diet chiefly includes dead fish and small water animals. When you hear its call, you will think that a baby is crying. It is a strange kyainh but is worth listening.

~Arjun Basandrai

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