Bird Families

The Whistler Kite is a medium-sized diurnal bird of prey

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Whistler Kite (Haliastur sphenurus) is a medium-sized diurnal bird of prey. Found throughout Australia, New Caledonia, and New Guinea. It got its name for its loud whistling cry, which it often emits in flight. Some scientists attribute this species to the genus of true kites. However, the whistler kite differs from the latter in many significant features of behavior and plumage, as well as voice.

On the IUCN lists, it passes as the species of least concern.

Transliteration: Korshun-svistun
It reads backwards as: nutsivs-nushrok
Whistler kite consists of 14 letters

Whistler Kite

The Whistler Kite is a medium-sized diurnal bird of prey. Found throughout Australia, New Caledonia, and New Guinea. It got its name for its loud whistling cry, which it often emits in flight. Some scientists attribute this species to the genus of true kites. However, the whistler kite differs from the latter in many significant features of behavior and plumage, as well as voice.

On the IUCN lists, it passes as the species of least concern.

1. Appearance

The whistler kite grows to 50 - 60 cm, the wingspan is 123 - 146 cm. The weight is from 380 to 1050 grams. Like most other birds of prey, females in this species are larger and heavier than males, the maximum difference can reach 21% in size and 42% in weight.In the southern parts of the range, whistler kites are usually larger than in the tropical northern part of it. The plumage is the same for both sexes. In adults, the head, chest and tail are pale dark yellow, the wings are closer to brown, and the flight feathers are black. Adolescents are striped with reddish and brown, with noticeable pale spots on the wings. Both in young and in adults, the paws are not feathered, they resemble bone in color. In general, the whistler kite looks like a bird with a small head and a long tail, when the bird is sitting - its wings seem to be short in comparison with the tail. Despite its short legs, the Whistler Kite walks perfectly on the ground. However, this bird prefers to hover on slightly bent wings, while the line of the flight feathers is noticeably skewed. The feathers on the underside of the wing create a contrasting pattern.

2. Voice

The Whistler Kite is a noisy bird, it often cries both in flight and when it sits, even when it sits on its nest. Most often, his cry is a clear, gradually fading whistle, followed by him less often - in front of him you can hear a rapid series of whistles, each of which is higher than the previous one. Interestingly, field studies conducted by Fiona Randall Fiona Randall, University of Edinburgh, Scotland in Taunton Queensland National Park showed that the spotted bowerbird Chlamydera maculata constantly imitates the calls of the whistler vulture, and most often does this during its breeding season. What this spotted bower needs this for is not yet known.

3. Habitat

The Whistler Kite is a bird of woodlands. Prefers to settle by the water. Occurs at altitudes up to 1400 meters.In general, it is a sedentary bird, but in Australia some whistler kites migrate to the northern coast of the continent during the dry season. From southern Australia, some whistler kites migrate south in the fall. In southern Australia, the number of whistler kites is decreasing due to drainage of swamps and, as a result, a decrease in the number of prey of this predator.

4. Behavior

Whistler kites usually live alone or in pairs, but sometimes - especially during migrations, overnight, and also in places where there is a lot of food - they can gather in flocks.

5. Nutrition

Whistler kites eat anything they can catch: small mammals, birds, fish, reptiles, amphibians, crustaceans, insects. Do not disdain and carrion. Kites of the Australian population tend to hunt live prey rather than in winter, when they feed mainly on carrion, while in New Guinea these birds are mainly scavengers. When hunting, they grab the victim from the ground or from the water surface, although insects can also be caught in the air. They also steal food from ibises and herons, as well as from other birds of prey, while they force large water birds to regurgitate the fish caught by them. They often circle over the roads in search of animals hit by cars. They also take advantage of the steppe fires, catching frightened animals at the very edge of the fire.

6. Reproduction

The Whistler Kite's nest is a large platform made of twigs. Nest is lined with green leaves, located in a vertical fork of a slender tree - usually eucalyptus or pine in the river floodplain.A pair of kites usually use the same nest from year to year, completing it, which is why the nests become so large. The female usually lays 2 - 3 bluish-white eggs, sometimes the eggs are covered with reddish-brown spots. Clutches of only 1 or, conversely, of 4 eggs are also noted. Incubation lasts 35 - 40 days, chicks hatch from about 60% of eggs

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