Brahminy Kite: The Brahminy Kite is one of the medium-sized raptors (birds of prey), with a white head and breast.

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Kite: The Brahminy Kite is one of the mediumsized raptors birds of prey, with a white head and breast.


Brahminy Kites have weak feet so, although they have long, sharp curved claws, they cannot take large prey. However they are expert at snatching prey in flight.



Usually silent. Drawnout descending wail, like a bleating lamb: peeahahah; meowing notes.

Facts and Figures

Research Species: No
Minimum Size: 45cm
Maximum Size: 51cm
Average size: 50cm
Average weight: 530g
Breeding season: April to October
Clutch Size: 1 to 2 eggs
Incubation: 28 days
Nestling Period: 52 days
Conservation Status Federal: Secure
NSW: Secure
SA:Not present
TAS:Not present
VIC:Not present
WA: Secure

Basic Information

Scientific Name: Haliastur indus
Atlas Number: 227


What does it look like?

The Brahminy Kite is one of the mediumsized raptors birds of prey, with a white head and breast. The rest of its body is a striking chestnut brown. The very tip of its tail is white. The wings are broad, with dark fingered wing tips and the tail is short. The legs are short and not feathered, the eye is dark and the lemon yellow coloured bill is strongly hooked. It sails on level wings along shorelines and mudflats.

Similar species:

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The adult Brahminy Kite is unmistakable, though juveniles may be confused with the Whistling Kite longer tail and distinctive underwing pattern or light Little Eagle. Firstyear juveniles may also be mistaken for Ospreys, but are dark underneath rather than white.

Where does it live?



The Brahminy Kite is widespread across northern Australia, mainly along the coastline from Western Australia to northern New South Wales, and is more common in the north of its range. It is widespread throughout tropical Asia.

The Brahminy Kite is a bird of the coast, particularly mangrove swamps and estuaries. It is sometimes seen over forests and along rivers.


Seasonal movements:

The Brahminy Kite is mostly resident and possibly locally nomadic.

What does it do?


The Brahminy Kite feeds on carrion dead animals, insects and fish. It swoops low over water, the ground or tree tops and snatches live prey or carrion from the surface. It also steals from fishhunting birds, snatching prey in flight. It harries or bothers other birds such as gulls, Whistling Kites, Osprey or Australian White Ibis.



The nest of the Brahminy Kite is built in living trees near water, often mangrove trees. The nest is large, made from sticks, seaweed or driftwood and lined with a variety of materials such as lichens, bones, seaweed and even paper. Both parents incubate the eggs and the young are fed bill to bill with small pieces of food.


Living with us

Brahminy Kites are secure in Australia. Being scavengers, they benefit from waste at tips, on roadsides and in harbours.


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