Saturday, 16 July 2011


Here are some more photos of yesterdays star bird taken by the well deserved finder Johnny Allan (

The bird looks like an adult. A 2nd calender year bird should show various juvenile plumage features such as white streaking to the underparts and pale edges to the greater coverts but this bird looked pretty uniform - like an adult (however the underwing is in a lot of shade in the photos). The bird is obviously in moult- some of the inner primaries and inner secondaries are missing. According to Forsman the moult in adults starts from April to May and is suspended during migration- although moult in a vagrant context is always a complex consideration.

Black Kite is a very familar bird to many travellers and occurs across a wide area from western Europe to the far east, Africa to India to Australia. Black Kite occurs in 7 different races or subspecies and presumably the Beddington bird is of the nominate race migrans.
Here's a couple of my old holiday snaps- good to see a bird over the local patch that is so evocative of exotic distant places.

Black Kite over the Taj Mahal, India, 2008

Black Kites over the Sea of Galilee, Jordan/Israel, 2009


Sam Woods said...

An interesting fact about Black Kites from Australia: they often attend bush fires. More recently birds have been observed picking up embers out of an existing fire and dropping them in unburnt areas. Some believe they might actually be deliberately trying to start more bush fires! I thought this was fascinating, although the behavior might be open to various interpretations!?

Peter Alfrey said...

Arsonists- that must be a new type of bird behaviour.
Good luck in PNG. That Mountain Owlet-Nightjar is something else! Gotta get myself out there sometime.