Opportunistic hunters, kites are frequently seen soaring and circling the skies in search of their prey. These diurnal raptors are the subject of the next in the series of bird life in Nhava.
One of the oldest marine institutes in India at 109 years, the T.S. Rahaman in Nhava Sheva is a haven for bird watching. This institute has a history, which has covering a lot of trees, mangroves and variety of birds. Till date I have photographed 110 species of birds in and around Nhava. One of them is the kite.
Kite is a common bird of prey in the family of Accipitridae. The most common kites seen in and around Nhava are black kites, black-eared kites, black-winged kites and Brahminy kites.
The black kite (Milvusmigrans) is a medium size bird of prey. It is one of the world’s most abundant species. They spend a lot of time soaring and gliding in search of food.Their angled wing and distinctive forked tail makes them easy to identify. They choose a particular place and time to stay for the hunt, for 2-3 days at a stretch.
The black-eared kite (Milvus (migrans) lineatus) is a medium size bird of prey very similar to the black kite. It is also known as a reddish brown eagle. Distinguishing factor between a black kite and a black-eared kite is that the former has a yellowish patch between the beak and the forehead, and the legs are also yellow, while the black-eared kite has a white patch between the beak and the forehead and white legs.
One of the most beautiful kites I have seen, the black-winged kite (Elanuscaeruleus) has beautiful red eyes. It is a striking bird of prey with a white head and grey crown. This bird is mainly found in low grassland area. The beauty of this bird is that when it flies is not like other raptors where most of them hold their wings straight. This bird can hold the wings 20 degrees down or 85 degrees up.
The Brahminy kite(Haliasturindus)with its white head and breast and striking contrasting chestnut body, is similar to the bald eagle. The bald eagle has a yellow beak and yellow legs while Brahminy kite has white beak and white legs, it is seen mainly near rivers or sea coast.Its food is mainly crab, fish, insects etc.