Haliastur indus, Brahminy kite, Elang bondol

Written by on November 19, 2010 in Java Bromo Animal with 0 Comments

Haliastur indus, Brahminy kite, Elang bondol

Brahminy Kites are mHaliastur indus, Brahminy kite, Elang bondolore scavengers than hunters. But they also hunt for small prey (fish, crabs, shellfish, frogs, rodents, reptiles, even insects). They forage both over water and land, soaring 20-50m above the surface.

Prey on the water surface is snatched with their talons, Brahminy Kites don’t dive into the water. They may even snatch swarming termites on the wing with their talons.

They scavenge from food scraps and garbage and are thus quite common at harbors and coastal fish/food processing sites.

But Brahminy Kites don’t just passively forage. They flush shorebirds roosting on the mudflats into flight to identify the weak. They are attracted to fires to catch any fleeing animals. They may steal from other raptors including large ones like the White-bellied Fish Eagle. Their catch is eaten on the wing, to prevent theft. When several quarrel over a meal, they squeal.

Habitats best suited to Brahminy Kites are broad mudflats such as those found in mangroves, estuaries and coasts. They are also found in freshwater wetlands such as ricefields and marshes They may roost together in trees along the coast.

Breeding: During mating season (November-December), Brahminy Kites perform aerial acrobatics. They mate on or near the nest.

Brahminy Kites prefer to nest in mangroves, usually in tall emergent trees. Some use dead trees (perhaps the tree was alive when it was first used as a nest site). On swampy sites that are more secure from land predators, they may nest as low as 5-6 m. But on dry land, usually at 20-25 m. Although they do not share nesting trees, pairs may nest less than 100 m apart.

Their nest is compact and made of twigs and sticks, usually 60-90 cm wide and 15-30 cm deep. The nest is often lined with dried mud. A first-time nest is usually thin, but as the pair reuse the site, the nest thickens. 2 eggs are laid, white with sparse red-brown blotches. Both parents raise the young.

Migration? Brahminy Kites are sedentary and do not migrate.

Status and threats Being unfussy scavengers also allow them to survive in a wide range of habitats, but they still require mangroves for nesting sites. In nearby Java, however, they are rarely seen; we don’t know why. Elsewhere, while they are still commonly seen along mangrove coasts, their numbers are declining due to habitat loss. They are also hunted in Thailand, along with other kites, and their young taken for pets. Their tendency to raid prawn and fish farms, and even steal chickens, also cause them to be considered as pests in some areas.

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