Wednesday 14 March 2012

What type of black kite?

Over the pasture where I was birding on Friday around midday, there were several birds of prey but the most numerous were black kite. There were five that I counted.

black kite "bird A"

My experience with black kite is quite limited and I was confused by these at first. All of them were obviously kites if you saw them fly not least because they had the characteristic forked tail.
Black kite bird A (left) with bird B (right)

Even though I viewed all of them into the sun, I could see that they had pale heads with a black mask running through the eye.
black kite bird B takes off

I wondered whether this might make them black-eared kite. This sub species is from Siberia to the far east. However northern inland birds are known to migrate to the Persian Gulf which is not so far way.   

black kite bird C

It now looks though that all five birds are first cycle black kite from the nominate species. The first cycle too have a dark mask. They also have a streaked belly which these birds have and lack the bright white carpal patch of black eared kite.  

What I am surprised about is why they were all first cycle birds. As it happens I visited the known winter roost of black kite about 20 kilometres away in Dirab later in the day and found out more. I'll blog about this as part of my next article!

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