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Whistling Kite - BirdForum Opus

Haliastur sphenurus


Photo © by Woom
Lake Mulwala, Victoria, May 2015

51–59 cm (20-23¼ in)

  • Pale buff head, breast and tail
  • Brown wings
  • Black flight feathers
  • Bone-coloured legs and feet

Females are larger and heavier than males
Immature birds are a heavily-streaked rufous-brown with prominent pale wing spots


Australasia: Breeds in eastern New Guinea, New Caledonia and widely distributed in Australia where it occurs virtually throughout the mainland.

Resident over most of range but nomadic in parts of Australia.

Vagrants recorded on Tasmania and King Island.


This is a monotypic species[1].


Photo © by Ken Doy
Eagleby, Queensland, Australia, June 2018

Open woodland, grassland with scattered trees, lakesides, swamps and riverine woodland.



The diet consists of small mammals (particularly rabbits), birds, fish, reptiles, amphibians, crustaceans, insects and carrion (especially important in the winter months).


The bulky platform stick nest is placed in a tall tree. It is lined with green leaves. The clutch consists of 2–3 bluish-white eggs, (may be covered with reddish-brown blotches); incubation lasts for 35–40 days. The young fledge after 44–54 days.


  1. Clements, J. F., T. S. Schulenberg, M. J. Iliff, D. Roberson, T. A. Fredericks, B. L. Sullivan, and C. L. Wood. 2017. The eBird/Clements checklist of birds of the world: v2017, with updates to August 2017. Downloaded from http://www.birds.cornell.edu/clementschecklist/download/
  2. Handbook of the Birds of the World Alive (retrieved May 2017)
  3. Wikipedia

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