Friday, April 29, 2011

Brahminy kites

Our apartment on the 13th floor in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia overlooks an enormous golf course where two Brahminy Kites(in picture) hover at exactly 5P.M. everyday. Not a day has been there when the two love birds (we presume) have not been seen flying in the sky, nestling in a particular tree for around 10minutes and finally landing on a lamp post of the golf course.
The Brahminy kite or the Red-backed sea eagle is a medium-sized bird of prey found in the Indian subcontinent, Southeast Asia & Australia. Adults have a reddish brown plumage and a contrasting white head and breast which make them easy to distinguish from other birds of prey. 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.
Young birds may indulge in play behaviour, dropping leaves and attempting to catch them in the air (observed by us). They roost communally on large and isolated trees and as many as 600 have been seen at just 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 them have been reported.

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