Whistling Kite

Whistling Kite soaring through the air

What does it look and sound like? Chiefly brown, paler and more streaked on the head, neck and underparts. In flight, the margins of the wings are darker, with a pale grey-brown wedge towards the tip of each wing. The underside of the tail is also pale grey-brown. The call, a descending whistle ‘psee-err’, followed by a staccato ‘si-si-si-si-si’, is similar to that of the Black Kite Milvus migrans.

What are its habitats and habits? Although it feeds on live prey, the Whistling Kite resembles other kites in its scavenging behaviour and can often be seen feeding on animals killed on the road.  The Whistling Kite is most common in open wooded habitats near permanent water. Pairs maintain a territory (possible all year) and both sexes share nest-building, incubation (moreso the female) and chick-rearing duties, and can breed up to three times in a year if conditions are favourable.

Scientific name: Haliastur sphenurus

Do you want to know the best places to go to see this species? Check out our book “Australia’s Birdwatching Megaspots” – available for purchase through our secure online store