Sunday, May 31

Bearded vulture

   ›      ›   Bearded vulture - Gypaetus barbatus.

The bearded vulture (Gypaetus barbatus) belongs to the family Accipitridae. These bearded vulture species are distributed in Himalayan region of Indian Subcontinent, Asia and Africa.

Taxonomy of Bearded vulture

  • Scientific Name: Gypaetus barbatus
  • Common Name: Bearded vulture
  • French: Gypaète barbu; German: Bartgeier; Spanish: Quebrantahuesos;
  • Other names: lammergeier or lammergeyer; Vultur barbatus Linnaeus, 1758;
  • Family: Accipitridae › Accipitriformes › Aves › Chordata › Animalia
  • Species author: (Linnaeus, 1758)
Gypaetus barbatus was earlier classified under genus vultur. The two recognized subspecies are: G. b. barbatus (Linnaeus, 1758) and G. b. meridionalis Keyserling & J. H. Blasius, 1840.

Indian birds - Image of Bearded Vulture - Gypaetus barbatus
Indian birds - Image of Bearded Vulture - Gypaetus barbatus

Description

The bearded vulture is a large bird, measuring 90 to 120 cm in length and weighing 4,500 to 7,000 grams. The wingspan is 230 to 280 cm. The female vulture is slightly larger than the male. The adult bird is mostly dark gray, rusty and whitish in color. It is grey-blue to grey-black above. The head is orange to rusty color. The bearded vultures have a small beard of blackish feathers at the base of bill. The creamy-coloured forehead contrasts against a black band across the eyes. The eye is red and the irides are creamy-yellow. The tail is long and wedge-shaped. The vulture call is a shrill whistle and also make twittering sounds.

Habitat

The bearded vultures inhabit remote, mountainous areas, with precipitous terrain. They also move to suburban areas in search of food.

Feeding habits

The bearded vultures scavenge and feed on carrion, preferably bones and marrow. They also feed on small mammals, birds and reptiles. They are known to carry and drop, bones and also tortoises, over rocks to break them open.

Breeding

The bearded vultures breed during November to June in the Indian subcontinent. They build a large nest with sticks and animal remains. The nest is built in caves and on ledges and rock outcrops. The clutch usually has one or two eggs. Both the parents take part in rearing the chicks.

Distribution

The bearded vulture subspecies G. b. barbatus is distributed in India (Himalayas), Nepal, Bhutan, north Africa, southern Europe, Turkey, Caucasus, Egypt, Saudi Arabia, Iran, Afghanistan, Kazakhstan, Russia, Mongolia, China, Pakistan and Tibetan Plateau. The bearded vulture subspecies G. b. meridionalis is distributed in north and east Africa, South Africa and Lesotho.

Movement Patterns

The bearded vulture is sedentary in its range. The vultures in the high mountains may move to lower altitudes during winter.

Status and conservation

The bearded vulture global population is estimated to be 2,000 to 10,000 individual birds. There is a steady decline in the population of these vulture species and they are considered 'near threatened'. Kidney failure in vultures caused by feeding on carcasses of animals treated with diclofenac (a nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drug) was the major cause of sudden decline in populations. However the veterinarian diclofenac was taken off the market in the year 2006, in India, Nepal and Pakistan. Present threats to the bearded vulture conservations and survival are degradation of the habitats, human disturbances of breeding pairs, collisions with powerlines and wind turbines and inadequate food availability.

The IUCN (International Union for Conservation of Nature) has categorized and evaluated these vulture species and has listed them as "Near Threatened".

Biological classification of Gypaetus barbatus
Kingdom:Animalia
Phylum:Chordata
Class:Aves
Order:Accipitriformes
Family:Accipitridae
Subfamily:-
Genus:Gypaetus
Species:G. barbatus
Binomial name:Gypaetus barbatus
Distribution:Himalayan Indian Subcontinent, Asia, Africa;
Feeding habits:bones, bone marrow and carrion; also feeds on small mammals, reptiles and birds;
IUCN status listing:
Near Threatened

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Saturday, May 30

Grey-headed fish-eagle

   ›      ›   Grey-headed fish-eagle - Icthyophaga ichthyaetus.

The grey-headed fish-eagle (Icthyophaga ichthyaetus) belongs to the family Accipitridae. These grey-headed fish-eagle species are distributed in Indian Subcontinent, Southeast Asia, Indonesia and Philippines.

Taxonomy of Grey-headed fish-eagle

  • Scientific Name: Icthyophaga ichthyaetus
  • Common Name: Grey-headed fish-eagle
  • French: Pygargue à tête grise; German: Graukopf-Seeadler; Spanish: Pigarguillo común;
  • Other names: Grey-headed Fishing-eagle; Falco Ichthyaetus Horsfield, 1821, Java; Icthyophaga ichthyaetus;
  • Family: Accipitridae › Accipitriformes › Aves › Chordata › Animalia

    Species author: (Horsfield, 1821)
Icthyophaga ichthyaetus was earlier classified under genus Falco. The genus Icthyophaga (del Hoyo and Collar 2014) was previously spelled Ichthyophaga.

Indian birds - Image of Grey-headed fish-eagle - Icthyophaga ichthyaetus
Indian birds - Image of  Grey-headed fish-eagle - Icthyophaga ichthyaetus

Description

The grey-headed fish-eagle is a large bird, measuring 60 to 75 cm in length and weighing 1,600 to 2,700 grams. Female eagles are larger than the males. The wingspan is 150 to 170 cm. The adults have dark brown upper body, greyish head and lighter underbelly. The bill and head are small. The thighs and legs are white. The tail is rounded and white with a broad black subterminal band.

Habitat

The grey-headed fish-eagle inhabits forested wetlands, rivers, lakes and tanks.

Feeding habits

These eagle species feed mostly on live or dead fish. They also feed on small mammals, reptiles and birds.

Breeding

The grey-headed fish-eagle breeding season in north India is between November and January. A huge nest is built on tall trees with sticks and leaves. Trees near water bodies are prefered. The clutch usually contains two to four eggs. Both the parents take part in incubation, foraging and fledgling feeding.

Distribution

These grey-headed eagles species are distributed in India, Nepal, Sri Lanka, Bangladesh, Myanmar, Thailand, Laos, Vietnam, Cambodia, Malaysia, Singapore, Brunei, Indonesia and Philippines.

Movement Patterns

The grey-headed fish-eagles are sedentary and make local movements for feeding.

Status and conservation

These grey-headed eagle species global population is estimated to be 15,000 to 150,000 individual birds. There is rapid decline in the population and the species are considered 'near threatened'. These eagle species are facing threats of loss of forested wetland habitats and overfishing of the feeding grounds.

The IUCN (International Union for Conservation of Nature) has categorized and evaluated these eagle species and has listed them as "Near Threatened".

Biological classification of Icthyophaga ichthyaetus
Kingdom:Animalia
Phylum:Chordata
Class:Aves
Order:Accipitriformes
Family:Accipitridae
Subfamily:-
Genus:Icthyophaga
Species:I. ichthyaetus
Binomial name:Icthyophaga ichthyaetus
Distribution:Indian Subcontinent, Southeast Asia, Philippines and Indonesia;
Feeding habits:Mainly live or dead fish; also feeds on small mammals, reptiles and birds;
IUCN status listing:
Near Threatened

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Friday, May 29

Lesser fish eagle

   ›      ›   Lesser fish eagle - Ichthyophaga humilis.

The lesser fish eagle (Ichthyophaga humilis) belongs to the family Accipitridae. These lesser fish eagle species are distributed in north India, south India (Kerala and Karnataka), Bangladesh, Nepal, Bhutan, China, Myanmar, Thailand, Cambodia, Laos, Malaysia and Indonesia.

Taxonomy of Lesser fish eagle

  • Scientific Name: Ichthyophaga humilis
  • Common Name: Lesser fish eagle
  • French: Pygargue nain; German: Braunschwanz-Seeadler; Spanish: Pigarguillo menor;
  • Other names: Lesser Fishing-eagle; Falco humilis S. Müller and Schlegel, 1841; Ichthyophaga humilis;
  • Family: Accipitridae › Accipitriformes › Aves › Chordata › Animalia
  • Species author: (Müller,S & Schlegel, 1841)
Ichthyophaga humilis was earlier classified under genus Falco. The genus Icthyophaga (del Hoyo and Collar 2014) was previously spelled Ichthyophaga. The two recognized subspecies are: I. h. plumbea (Jerdon, 1871) and I. h. humilis (S. Müller & Schlegel, 1841).

Indian birds - Image of Lesser fish-eagle - Ichthyophaga humilis
Indian birds - Image of Lesser fish-eagle - Ichthyophaga humilis

Description

The lesser fish eagle is a medium sized bird, measuring 50 to 70 cm in length and weighing 780 to 800 grams. The wingspan is 120 to 160 cm. It has greyish brown plumage. The belly and thighs are white. The legs are cream colored with black talons. The eyes are light yellow. The head is small and the tail is rounded. Its call is a cackling sound.

Habitat

The lesser fish eagles inhabit various forms of rivers, lakes, and wetlands. These eagle species are often seen along hill streams and fast moving rivulets with fringe trees.

Feeding habits

The lesser fish eagles mainly feed on fish. They have claws and talons adapted for plucking the prey from the water. They usually use perches for spotting prey.

Breeding

The lesser fish eagle breeding season in north India is from March to August. The nest is built with sticks and leaves. The clutch may contain two to four eggs.

Distribution

The eagle subspecies I. h. plumbea is distributed in north India, south India (Kerala and Karnataka), Bangladesh, Nepal, Bhutan, China, Myanmar, Thailand, Cambodia and Laos. The subspecies I. h. humilis is distributed in Malaysia and Indonesia.

Movement Patterns

These eagle species are mostly sedentary in their ranges. The eagles in the high altitudes may descend to lower levels in winter.

Status and conservation

The lesser fish eagle global population is preliminarily estimated to number 15,000 to 75,000 individual birds. There is rapid decline in the eagle population and these species are considered near threatened. Loss of forest cover along water bodies and rivers and also over-fishing are the main threats to their survival.

The IUCN (International Union for Conservation of Nature) has categorized and evaluated these eagle species and has listed them as "Near Threatened".

Biological classification of Ichthyophaga humilis
Kingdom:Animalia
Phylum:Chordata
Class:Aves
Order:Accipitriformes
Family:Accipitridae
Subfamily:-
Genus:Ichthyophaga
Species:I. humilis
Binomial name:Ichthyophaga humilis
Distribution:Indian Subcontinent, Myanmar, Malaysia and Indonesia;
Feeding habits:Mainly fish;
IUCN status listing:
Near Threatened

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Thursday, May 28

White-tailed sea-eagle

   ›      ›   White-tailed sea-eagle - Haliaeetus albicilla.

The white-tailed sea-eagle (Haliaeetus albicilla) belongs to the family Accipitridae. The white-tailed sea-eagle species is distributed in Europe, Asia, northern Indian Subcontinent and Myanmar.

Taxonomy of White-tailed sea-eagle

  • Scientific Name: Haliaeetus albicilla
  • Common Name: White-tailed sea-eagle
  • French: Pygargue à queue blanche; German: Seeadler; Spanish: Pigargo europeo;
  • Other names: Falco albicilla Linnaeus, 1758; Haliaeetus albicilla albicilla; Haliaeetus albicilla groenlandicus; white-tailed eagle; erne;
  • Family: Accipitridae › Accipitriformes › Aves › Chordata › Animalia
  • Species author: (Linnaeus, 1758)
Haliaeetus albicilla was earlier classified under genus Falco. It is closely related to H. leucocephalus.

Indian birds - Image of White-tailed sea-eagle - Haliaeetus albicilla
Indian birds - White-tailed sea-eagle - Haliaeetus albicilla

Description

The white-tailed sea-eagle is a large bird and the female is larger than the male. It measures 70 to 90 cm in length. The male sea eagle weighs 4,000 grams and the female weighs 5,500 grams. The wingspan is 200 to 245 cm. These eagle species have broad wings, a large head and a large thick beak. The plumage is mainly grayish-brown and head and neck are paler. The flight feathers are blackish. It has a distinctive white tail. The bill and legs are yellow. The sea eagle call sounds 'kyo-kyo-klee-klee-klee-klee'.

Habitat

The white-tailed sea-eagle species inhabit diverse habitats in both freshwater and marine environment. These eagle species occur in coasts, rocky islands, lakes and large rivers.

Feeding habits

The white-tailed sea-eagles mainly feed on fish. They also feeds on small mammals, reptiles, birds and carrion. These eagles are known for pirating food from other birds including cormorants, gulls, ospreys and other birds of prey. They even snatch fish from otters.

Breeding

The white-tailed sea-eagle breeding season is during January in southern ranges and the northern birds breed during April and May. They usually pair for life. These eagle species nest on coastal cliffs and also on tall trees. The nest is built with sticks.

Distribution

The white-tailed sea-eagle is distributed in Norway, Russia, Greenland, Denmark, Sweden, Poland, Germany, Iceland, United Kingdom, Finland, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Belarus, Austria, Czech Republic, Slovakia, Slovenia, the former Yugoslav states, Bulgaria, Romania, Hungary, Moldova, Greece, Turkey, Iran, Armenia, Georgia, Azerbaijan, Ukraine, Kazakhstan, Turkmenistan, Mongolia, China, Japan, Mediterranean region, Israel, Persian Gulf, Pakistan, north India and north Myanmar.

Movement Patterns

The white-tailed sea-eagle populations are mostly resident and only the northernmost birds migrate southwards for wintering.

Status and conservation

The white-tailed sea-eagle global population is estimated to be 20,300 to 39,600 individual birds. The population is increasing owing to conservation measures. The degradation of wetlands, felling of trees in the breeding grounds, human activity in the breeding grounds, environmental pollution, collision with wind generators are the main threats to their survival.

The IUCN (International Union for Conservation of Nature) has categorized and evaluated these eagle species and has listed them as of "Least Concern".

Biological classification of Haliaeetus albicilla
Kingdom:Animalia
Phylum:Chordata
Class:Aves
Order:Accipitriformes
Family:Accipitridae
Subfamily:-
Genus:Haliaeetus
Species:H. albicilla
Binomial name:Haliaeetus albicilla
Distribution:Europe, Asia, Northern Indian Subcontinent and Myanmar;
Feeding habits:Mainly fish; also small mammals, reptiles, birds and carrion;
IUCN status listing:
Least Concern

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Image source: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Haliaeetus_albicilla_(Svolv%C3%A6r,_2012).jpg
Image Author: Yathin S Krishnappa | Image License: CC BY-SA 3.0
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Tuesday, May 26

Pallas's fish eagle

   ›      ›   Pallas's fish eagle - Haliaeetus leucoryphus.

The Pallas's fish eagle (Haliaeetus leucoryphus) belongs to the family Accipitridae. These eagle species are distributed in central Asia, northern Indian Subcontinent and Myanmar.

Taxonomy of Pallas's fish eagle

  • Scientific Name: Haliaeetus leucoryphus
  • Common Name: Pallas's fish eagle
  • French: Pygargue de Pallas; German: Bindenseeadler; Spanish: Pigargo de Pallas;
  • Other names: Aquila leucorypha Pallas, 1771; Pallas's sea eagle; band-tailed fish eagle;
  • Family: Accipitridae › Accipitriformes › Aves › Chordata › Animalia
  • Species author: (Pallas, 1771)
Haliaeetus leucoryphus was earlier classified as Aquila leucorypha Pallas, 1771.

Indian birds - Image of Pallas's fish eagle - Haliaeetus leucoryphus
Indian birds - Image of Pallas's fish eagle - Haliaeetus leucoryphus

Description

The Pallas's fish eagle is a large bird and the female is slightly larger than the male. They measure 70 to 85 cm in length. The male weighs 2,000 to 3,300 grams whereas the female weighs 2,100 to 3,700 grams. The wingspan is 180 to 215 cm. The adult eagle has dark brown plumage, with warm buffish to whitish head, neck and upper mantle. The tail is black with a wide, distinctive white band. Underwings also have a white band. Their call makes a guttural kha-kha-kha-kha or gao-gao-gao-gao sound.

Habitat

These eagle species inhabits wetlands, principally large lakes and rivers, fringed by tall trees. They roost and build nest on trees close to water.

Feeding habits

These eagle species feeds mainly on fish. They also feed on small mammals, reptiles, birds and carrion.

Breeding

These bird species are found to breed during September and February in India. Nests are built on tall trees near water bodies.

Distribution

These birds distributed in Kazakhstan, southern Russia, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan, Mongolia, China, Afghanistan, Pakistan, northern India, Bhutan, Nepal, Bangladesh and Myanmar.

Movement Patterns

The Pallas's fish eagle is mainly sedentary. The central Asian populations migrate southwards for wintering.

Status and conservation

The fish eagle global population is estimated to number less than 10,000 individual birds. The loss of habitat, by degradation and disturbance of wetlands, felling of adjacent nesting trees and covering of waterbodies with weeds like water hyacinth has lead to a significant decline in the population. These eagle species are considered vulnerable to further decline.

The IUCN (International Union for Conservation of Nature) has categorized and evaluated these eagle species and has listed them as "Vulnerable".

Biological classification of Haliaeetus leucoryphus
Kingdom:Animalia
Phylum:Chordata
Class:Aves
Order:Accipitriformes
Family:Accipitridae
Subfamily:-
Genus:Haliaeetus
Species:H. leucoryphus
Binomial name:Haliaeetus leucoryphus
Distribution:Russia, Kazakhstan, Mongolia, China, Pakistan, North India and Myanmar;
Feeding habits:Mainly fish; also small mammals, reptiles, birds and carrion;
IUCN status listing:
Vulnerable

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Monday, May 25

White-bellied sea eagle

   ›      ›   White-bellied sea eagle - Haliaeetus leucogaster.

The white-bellied sea eagle (Haliaeetus leucogaster) belongs to the family Accipitridae. The white-bellied sea eagle species is distributed in Sri Lanka, Nepal, India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, southeast Asia, South China, Indonesia, Philippines and Australia.

Taxonomy of White-bellied sea eagle

  • Scientific Name: Haliaeetus leucogaster
  • Common Name: White-bellied sea eagle
  • French: Pygargue blagre; German: Weißbauch-Seeadler; Spanish: Pigargo oriental;
  • Other names: Falco leucogaster J. F. Gmelin, 1788; Ichthyaetus blagrus Blyth, 1843; white-breasted sea eagle;
  • Family: Accipitridae › Accipitriformes › Aves › Chordata › Animalia

    Species author: Gmelin, 1788
Haliaeetus leucogaster was earlier included in genus Falco. It is closely related to H. sanfordi, H. vocifer and H. vociferoides.

Indian birds - Image of White-bellied sea eagle - Haliaeetus leucogaster
Indian birds - Image of White-bellied sea eagle - Haliaeetus leucogaster

Description

The white-bellied sea eagle is a large bird measuring 75 to 85 cm in length. The female bird is larger than the male. The male sea eagle weighs 1.800 to 2,900 grams and the female weighs 2,500 to 3,900 grams. The wingspan is 178 to 220 cm. These sea eagle species is distinctive, having a whitish head, breast, under-wing coverts and tail. The upper parts are grey and the black. The under-wing flight feathers contrast with the whitish coverts. The adult male white-bellied sea eagle and the female are similar looking and the immature birds have brown plumage. The tail is short and wedge shaped. The bill is blue-grey with a darker tip and is large and hooked. The legs and feet are yellow. The long talons are black. The sea eagle call is a loud goose-like honking sound.

Habitat

The white-bellied sea eagle normally inhabits coastal areas, inshore waters, islands, estuaries and wetlands.

Feeding habits

The white-bellied sea eagle feeds on fish, turtles and water snakes and crustaceans. It also feeds on small mammals, reptiles, birds and carrion. It is known for snatching feed from other birds.

Breeding

The white-bellied sea eagle breeds during the dry season in its range. The nest is built on tall trees, cliffs or man-made pylons. The nest is constructed with sticks and branches and is lined with grass or seaweed. The clutch may have two eggs, but usually only one chick is reared successfully to fledging. Both the sea eagle parents take part in incubation and rearing of the chick.

Distribution

The white-bellied sea eagle is distributed along the coast of Indian Subcontinent, Lakshadweep Islands, Andaman Islands, coastal South China, Southeast Asia and islands, islands of the Philippines and Indonesia and Australian coast.

Movement Patterns

The white-bellied sea eagle species are resident in some regions and are nomadic in certain regions. They move in search of feed.

Status and conservation

The white-bellied sea eagle global population is estimated to number 10,000 to 100,000 individual birds. These white-bellied sea eagle species have an extremely large range, and hence considered not vulnerable. The sea eagle population is under decline due breeding habitat loss caused by the clearance of water-edge vegetations. Shooting, poisoning and human activity near breeding sites are the threats to their survival.

The IUCN (International Union for Conservation of Nature) has categorized and evaluated these sea eagle species and has listed them as "Least Concern".

Biological classification of Haliaeetus leucogaster
Kingdom:Animalia
Phylum:Chordata
Class:Aves
Order:Accipitriformes
Family:Accipitridae
Subfamily:-
Genus:Haliaeetus
Species:H. leucogaster
Binomial name:Haliaeetus leucogaster
Distribution:Indian subcontinent, South China, Southeast Asia, Indonesia, Philippines and Australia;
Feeding habits:small mammals, reptiles, birds, fish and carrion;
IUCN status listing:
Least Concern

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Sunday, May 24

Brahminy kite

   ›      ›   Brahminy kite - Haliastur indus.

The brahminy kite (Haliastur indus) belongs to the family Accipitridae. The brahminy kite species is distributed in Sri Lanka, Nepal, India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, southeast Asia and Australia.

Taxonomy of Brahminy kite

  • Scientific Name: Haliastur indus
  • Common Name: Brahminy kite
  • French: Milan sacré; German: Brahminenweih; Spanish: Milano brahmán;
  • Other names: Falco Indus Boddaert, 1783; red-backed sea-eagle;
  • Family: Accipitridae › Accipitriformes › Aves › Chordata › Animalia
  • Species author: Boddaert, 1783
Haliastur indus was earlier included in genus Falco. The four recognized subspecies are: H. i. indus (Boddaert, 1783), H. i. intermedius Blyth, 1865, H. i. girrenera (Vieillot, 1822) and H. i. flavirostris Condon & Amadon, 1954.

Description

The brahminy kite species is a medium sized bird. The female kite is slightly larger than the male. The male measures 45 to 50 cm in length and weighs 400 to 650 grams. The female kite weighs 430 to 700 grams. The wingspan is 110 to 125 cm. The adult has chestnut back, wings and belly. The head and breast have a contrasting white plumage.

It has relatively short wings when compared to other kites in the region and the tail is rounded. The underwing carpal region has squarish shaped pale patch. Its call sounds a mewing keeyew.
Indian birds - Image of Brahminy kite - Haliastur indus
Indian birds - Image of Brahminy kite - Haliastur indus

Habitat

The brahminy kite species inhabits coastal plains, estuaries, rivers, lakes, swamps, marshes, reservoirs, rice fields and urban areas.

Feeding habits

These brahminy kite species feed mainly on dead fish, crabs and carrion. They also catch and feed on live preys such as small mammals, birds, reptiles, amphibians and fish. They are known to snatch feed from other birds.

Breeding

The breeding season of these kite species is from December to April in Asia. They build nest with sticks and twigs on trees. The nest contains a clutch of two eggs. Both the partners take part in building nest. The female kite appears to do much of incubating. Both the parents take part in rearing the chicks.

Distribution

The brahminy kite subspecies H. i. indus is distributed in Pakistan, India, Sri Lanka, Southeast Asia and South China. The subspecies H. i. intermedius is distributed in Malaysia, Indonesia and Philippines. The subspecies H. i. girrenera is distributed in New Guinea and Australia. The subspecies H. i. flavirostris is distributed in Feni Islands, Green Island and Solomon Islands.

Movement Patterns

The brahminy kite species are resident birds in their ranges. Seasonal local movements may be made in search of food and water.

Status and conservation

The global brahminy kite population is estimated to be about 100,000 individual birds. These birds have very wide range and considered least vulnerable. Habitat loss and use of agricultural pesticides are the main threats in their conservation.

The IUCN (International Union for Conservation of Nature) has categorized and evaluated these brahminy kite species and has listed them as "Least Concern".

Biological classification of Haliastur indus
Kingdom:Animalia
Phylum:Chordata
Class:Aves
Order:Accipitriformes
Family:Accipitridae
Subfamily:-
Genus:Haliastur
Species:H. indus
Binomial name:Haliastur indus
Distribution:Indian subcontinent, Southeast Asia, and Australia;
Feeding habits:small mammals, reptiles, birds, fish and carrion;
IUCN status listing:
Least Concern

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Saturday, May 23

Black kite

   ›      ›   Black kite - Milvus migrans.

The black kite (Milvus migrans) belongs to the family Accipitridae.

The black kite species is distributed in Europe, Africa, Asia, Indian Subcontinent and Australia.

Taxonomy of Black kite

  • Scientific Name: Milvus migrans
  • Common Name: Black kite
  • French: Milan noir; German: Schwarzmilan; Spanish: Milano negro;
  • Other names: Falco migrans Boddaert, 1783; Milvus affinis; Milvus ater; Milvus melanotis;
  • Family: Accipitridae › Accipitriformes › Aves › Chordata › Animalia
  • Species author: (Boddaert, 1783)
Milvus migrans was earlier included in genus Falco. The seven recognized subspecies are: M. m. migrans (Boddaert, 1783), M. m. govinda Sykes, 1832, M. m. formosanus Nagamichi Kuroda, 1920, M. m. affinis Gould, 1838, M. m. lineatus (J. E. Gray, 1831), M. m. aegyptius (J. F. Gmelin, 1788) and M. m. parasitus (Daudin, 1800).

Description

The black kite species is a medium sized bird and the females are slightly larger than the males. The male black kite measures 45 to 65 cm in length and weighs 600 to 900 grams. The female bird weighs 750 to 1,100 grams. The wingspan is 120 to 150 cm. The black kite has dark brown plumage. The head and neck are paler. There is a dark patch behind the eyes. The outer flight feathers are black and the feathers have dark cross bars and are mottled at the base. The cere, gape and legs are yellow. The beak and claws are black. These kite species have a distinctive shrill whistling sound followed by a rapid whinnying call.

Indian birds - Image of Black kite - Milvus migrans
Indian birds - Image of Black kite - Milvus migrans

Habitat

The black kite species inhabits a wide variety of habitats such as semi-deserts, grasslands, savannas and woodlands. They avoid dense forests.

Feeding habits

These kite species feed on birds, bats, rodents, fish, reptiles, carrion and household waste.

Breeding

The breeding season of these kite species in India is during winter. The nest is a rough platform of twigs and rags placed usually in a fork of tree. Both the male and female take part in nest building, incubation and care of chicks. The clutch usually contains two to three eggs.

Distribution

The kite subspecies M. m. migrans is distributed in Europe, Africa, Asia and Indian Subcontinent. The subspecies M. m. govinda is distributed in Pakistan, India, Nepal, Sri Lanka, Bangladesh, South China, Myanmar, Vietnam, Thailand and Malaysia. The subspecies M. m. formosanus is distributed in Taiwan and South China. The subspecies M. m. affinis is distributed in Indonesia, New Guinea and Australia. The subspecies M. m. lineatus is distributed in Europe, Asia, Indian Subcontinent, Myanmar and Southeast Asia. The subspecies M. m. aegyptius is distributed in Egypt, Arabia, coastal E Africa and Kenya. The kite subspecies M. m. parasitus is distributed in Africa and Madagascar.

Movement Patterns

The kite populations in the tropical regions are resident. The populations of these kite species from Europe and north Asia leave their breeding grounds between July and October, arriving back between February and May. These kite species winter in sub-Saharan Africa and southern Asia.

Status and conservation

The global black kite population is estimated to be 1,000,000 to 6,000,000 individual birds. The modernisation of urban areas had lead to habitat loss. Agricultural pesticides and windmills are the threats to the conservation of these kite species.

The IUCN (International Union for Conservation of Nature) has categorized and evaluated these kite species and has listed them as of "Least Concern".

Biological classification of Milvus migrans
Kingdom:Animalia
Phylum:Chordata
Class:Aves
Order:Accipitriformes
Family:Accipitridae
Subfamily:-
Genus:Milvus
Species:M. migrans
Binomial name:Milvus migrans
Distribution:Europe, Asia, Africa, Australia and Indian Subcontinent;
Feeding habits:small mammals, reptiles, birds, fish and carrion;
IUCN status listing:
Least Concern

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Image source: http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Milvus_migrans_at_Dudaim_,Israel_19.jpg
Image Author: מינוזיג | Image License: cc-by-sa-4.0
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