Scientific Name: Haliastur sphenurus
Size: 50 to 60 cm
What does it look and sound like?
The Whistling Kite is chiefly brown, paler and more streaked on the head, neck and underparts. In flight, the margins of the wings are darker, with a pale grey-brown wedge towards the tip of each wing. The underside of the tail is also pale grey-brown. The call, a descending whistle ‘psee-err’, followed by a staccato ‘si-si-si-si-si’, is similar to that of the Black Kite Milvus migrans.
Where is it found?
The Whistling Kite is widespread over mainland Australia. Also occurs in New Guinea, the Solomons and New Caledonia.
What are its habitats & habits?
Although it feeds on live prey, the Whistling Kite resembles other kites in its scavenging behaviour and can often be seen feeding on animals killed on the road. The Whistling Kite is most common in open wooded habitats near permanent water. Pairs maintain a territory (possible all year) and both sexes share nest-building, incubation (moreso the female) and chick-rearing duties, and can breed up to three times in a year if conditions are favourable.
This species features in my book Australia’s Birdwatching Megaspots