Black Kite

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Milvus migrans


Size 47-55cm.

Easily identified when perched or in flight by its forked tail. It is uniformly dark brown with a yellow area around the nostrils (cere) and a wingspan of 120-140cm. Young birds are lighter in colour with a more streaked and spotted appearance.

Feeding Habits

Food scraps scavenged from camping grounds and picnic areas. They can often be seen in very large numbers in slow circling flight over rubbish dumps. Bushfires are another source of food as they circle waiting to prey upon small mammals, lizards, and insects – especially grasshoppers as they flee the flames.


A large platform of sticks, lined with wool, fur or dry vegetation, usually high within the canopy. The female sits on the eggs and the male provides food. After fledging, the young rely on the parents for about two months.

Places to Look

Beaches, tidal flats, rubbish dumps or patrolling roadsides looking for “roadkill”.


NQ Dry Tropics gratefully acknowledges the contribution of Birdlife Townsville (formerly the Townsville Region Bird Observers Club) to the information on this page.

© Birdlife Townsville
© Birdlife Townsville

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