Fun Brahminy Kite Facts For Kids

Moumita Dutta
May 08, 2023 By Moumita Dutta
Originally Published on Aug 05, 2021
Edited by Isobel Murphy
Fact-checked by Ankit Shinde
Brahminy kite facts are fun to read.

The brahminy kite (Haliastur indus) is a species of recognizable medium-sized raptors (birds of prey). Adults have a reddish-brown body plumage that contrasts with their white heads and breast, allowing them to be distinguished from other raptors.

This species of bird has dark-fingered wing tips and a low tail. The tip of its rounded tail is white.

These medium-sized raptors are distinguished by a squarish pale patch on the underwing carpal area. They are found in a range of habitats, particularly in South Asia (India, Sri Lanka, and Nepal).

However, they mostly prefer coastal and inland wetlands, where they eat dead fish and other prey. They generally do not migrate but they do make seasonal movements associated with levels of rainfall in parts of their range.

This species of bird may sometimes land in the water and still manage to swim and catch prey. Therefore, fishing over water is one of their key characteristics, where they swim and take off without any problem. If you like reading animal facts, do check out our Mississippi kite and swallow-tailed kite facts too.

Brahminy Kite Interesting Facts

What type of animal is a brahminy kite?

A brahminy kite (Haliastur indus) is a type of bird. It belongs to the family of Accipitridae.

What class of animal does a brahminy kite belong to?

This species of bird belongs to the class of Aves.

How many brahminy kites are there in the world?

The exact number of brahminy kite (Haliastur indus) birds in the world are not known.

Where does a brahminy kite live?

They live in Southeast Asia, India, Sri Lanka, Nepal, Pakistan, and Bangladesh. Iran and Australia (the coastal region of western Australia to as far south as New South Wales) are both also home to brahminy kites.

What is a brahminy kite's habitat?

Brahminy kites do not relocate in winter, but they do have movements associated with rainfall in some parts. They are mostly found near coastal waters, estuaries, mangrove swamps, wetlands, and near cities.

Who do brahminy kites live with?

The brahminy kite can be seen alone or in groups. They roost in large and isolated trees in groups of as many as 600.

How long does a brahminy kite live?

The exact lifespan of this species of bird is not known.

How do they reproduce?

The breeding season of these birds in South Asia occurs from December to April. However, in southern and eastern Australia, the breeding season runs from August to October, and from April to June in the north and west.

Brahminy pairs use materials such as twigs, rocks, and leaves in their habitat to build nests. When completed, the nest is usually 24-35 in (60-90 cm) wide and 6-12 in (15-30 cm) deep.

The nest is usually above water, 7-99 ft (2.13-30.17 m)  above the ground, and sometimes in a significant branch of big trees. However, they have nested on the ground under trees in rare instances.

For multiple seasons, the nest can be renovated and reused.

Both parents build the nest, but only the female is likely to incubate the eggs. The incubation period is about 26 to 27 days long, and a typical clutch consists of about two dull white or bluish-white eggs.

When the chicks are 44-56 days old, they fledge and stay with their parents again (in the nest) for the next two months. At the age of two, they reach sexual maturity and can reproduce.

What is their conservation status?

According to the International Union for Conservation of Nature's Red List of Threatened Species (IUCN Red List), their conservation status is of Least Concern.

Brahminy Kite Fun Facts

What do brahminy kites look like?

With a white head and breasts, the brahminy kite is a medium-sized raptor. The remainder of its body is a deep reddish-brown color and it has a white tip on its tail.

The tail is low and the wings are long with dark-fingered wing tips. The legs are slender and unfeathered, the eyes are dark, and the bill is deeply hooked in lemon yellow.

Females are similar to males in appearance, but they are bigger and heavier. Both adults and juveniles have brown plumage with white edges. The white sections are buffy-white with brown streaks and the bill is a dark brown color.

Their primary flight feathers and under tail feathers are grayish-brown on the underparts. Their primary flight plumage is whitish in appearance.

A Brahminy Kite on a tree top.

How cute are they?

Brahminy kites are very cute to look at. The reddish-brown coloration of their plumage contrasts with their white head and breast and makes them stunning to look at!

How do they communicate?

Brahminy kites are often quiet birds, but when they need to talk, they make a 'keeyew' call or a 'pee-ah-ah-ah' signal that sounds a little like a lamb.

How big is a brahminy kite?

Brahminy kites range from around  18-20 in (46-51 cm) long, excluding their wingspan. They are about three times the size of an average lovebird and their wingspan is about 43-49 in (109-124 cm) long.

How fast can a brahminy kite fly?

The exact speed of this species of bird is not known. Although, they are generally very fast while catching prey among the trees.

How much does a brahminy kite weigh?

Brahminy kites' weight range is from 11.3-24 oz (0.32-0.68 kg).

What are the male and female names of the species?

Males of this species are called 'cocks', and females are called 'hens'.

What would you call a baby brahminy kite?

A baby brahminy kite is called a 'chick'.

What do they eat?

These birds are scavengers, that can eat almost everything, including food waste or dead animals such as dead fish and crabs. Tiny mammals, small birds, crabs, frogs, snakes, small reptiles, fish, and insects are among the live prey they pursue. Their diet differs greatly between habitats and is determined by what is present in their environment.

They catch live prey from the soil by flying low just above the land or just over the water. They often hunt from a perch on the water's edge, catching prey in flight.

They can even consume food from the earth. They can also practice kleptoparasitism, which means that they try to steal prey from other birds who hunt fish.

Are they dangerous?

Brahminy kites are birds of prey, therefore, they can attack human beings so they can be quite dangerous.

Would they make a good pet?

No, these birds are scavengers and survive best in natural habitats.

Did you know...

The brahminy kite, also known as 'elang bondol' in Indonesia, is Jakarta's official bird. In Hinduism, the ‘elang bondol’ bird is considered the contemporary representation of Garuda, Vishnu's sacred bird.

Irrawaddy dolphins have been seen herding fish to the surface, which brahminy kites have been recorded taking advantage of.

A brahminy kite (Haliastur indus) is about the same size as a black kite. This is the primary reason why the two species (brahminy kite and black kite) are often confused with each other.

Young brahminy kites enjoy being playful, they are often seen dropping leaves and them attempting to catch them in the air!

This bird was formally known as the 'red backed sea eagle'.

What is the difference between a kite and an eagle?

A kite is different from an eagle. Kites are medium in size, whereas, eagles are large-sized birds of prey. The number of species that exist between an eagle and a kite is one of the most significant differences between the two.

There are only two species of eagles that are recognized. One lives on the shore and the other lives in the ocean. The amount of kite species ranges from 20-30 varieties.

The color variation between kites and eagles is one of the most noticeable physical differences between the two species. Kites can be found in a variety of shades, including black, white, green, and brown.

It's also worth noting that male kites aren't the same color as their female counterparts. Eagles, on the other hand, come in a variety of shades, including blackish-gray, golden, and brown.

Are kites birds of prey?

Yes, kites are birds of prey, also known as raptors. This means that they feed on the flesh of other animals and birds.

Here at Kidadl, we have carefully created lots of interesting family-friendly animal facts for everyone to discover! Learn more about some other birds from our Indian peafowl facts and kea parrot facts pages.

You can even occupy yourself at home by coloring in one of our free printable brahminy kite coloring pages.

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Written by Moumita Dutta

Bachelor of Arts specializing in Journalism and Mass Communication, Postgraduate Diploma in Sports Management

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Moumita DuttaBachelor of Arts specializing in Journalism and Mass Communication, Postgraduate Diploma in Sports Management

A content writer and editor with a passion for sports, Moumita has honed her skills in producing compelling match reports and stories about sporting heroes. She holds a degree in Journalism and Mass Communication from the Indian Institute of Social Welfare and Business Management, Calcutta University, alongside a postgraduate diploma in Sports Management.

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Fact-checked by Ankit Shinde

Bachelor of Journalism and Mass Communication

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Ankit ShindeBachelor of Journalism and Mass Communication

Ankit is a Journalism and Mass Media graduate from the University of Mumbai. With experience in SEO, blog and article writing, and fiction writing, he is a versatile writer and content creator. In his free time, Ankit enjoys reading, writing, and listening to music.

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