Thursday, 5 June 2014

Diurnal Birds of Prey - Kites, Falcons and Eagles

White Breasted Sea Eagle calls for her mate

Diurnal (as opposed to Nocturnal) Birds of Prey hunt during the day.

I have separate posts for each of the birds of prey:  Black-shouldered KiteBrown HawkNankeen Kestral (female)Nankeen Kestral (male)White Breasted Sea EagleWedge-tailed Eagle.  I will keep one or two key shots of each bird here.

Black-shouldered Kite

I see these frequently patrolling long stretches of road.  Generally they are in pairs.  They are adept at hovering for 5 - 10 seconds before falling on prey and then returning to a favorite tree to eat.

Black-shouldered Kite Page

Black-shouldered Kite

Brown Hawk

 Brown Hawk Page

Nankeen Kestral

Also called the Australian Kestral, Windhover or Sparrowhawk.  It is larger and stockier than the normal grey shouldered kites I find near roads - and about 1/3rd the size of a Wedgetail Eagle. While coloration and tail feather patterns are similar to the Little Eagle, Brown Hawk (and others) - it is only about 2/3 the size of those birds.

I initially misidentified some shots I took of this as being a brown hawk or little eagle.  I have learnt that the tell-tale black stripe beneath the eye and the distinct shape of the tail are good guides.  Thanks to +Ann Pollak for helping to set me straight :)

Nankeen Kestral (female) Page
I have been watching a Nankeen Kestral hunt by herself in the forests under the volcano Palerang.  

Nankeen Kestral (male) Page
Note that the male has a grey head.
Nankeen Kestral - male - midway Hoskingstown to Rossi

Hovering in strong winds, a Kestral is able to maintain position while turning to survey a cleared field below.  In the winds, the bird's wings were just a blur  - here I have put together a small sequence of high speed photographs to show the control exercised by the bird.
Nankeen Kestral - female - midway Hoskingstown to Rossi

White-Breasted Sea-Eagle

White Breasted Sea Eagle Page

Wedge-Tailed Eagle

Wedge-tailed Eagle - Tuena

Immature Wedge-tailed Eagle - Hoskingstown

Whistling Kite

Spotted Harrier

Spotted Harrier page

Peter Quinton
June 2014

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