Brahminy Kite: Competition for food

on 22nd September 2007


In the avian world, it is the law of the jungle, the survival of the fittest. The larger and stronger bird always bullies the smaller and weaker, especially where food is concerned. There are exceptions of course, where smaller (but not too small) birds can be more aggressive and attack larger but more timid birds.

Also, the mature birds are usually stronger and more experienced than the immature.

This is seen in the image sent in by Lee Tiah Khee, where an adult Brahminy Kite (Haliastur indus), after an exciting aerial chase, successfully grabbed the fresh catch of a juvenile. The juvenile put up a spirited fight but ultimately experience and size got the better of the situation. The adult dominated the struggle, ending up above the juvenile, to successfully wrest the food away from the latter’s talons. So the juvenile lost its hard-earned meal, some of which plummeted to the ground, and hopefully learnt a lesson.

Note that the adult (above) has a distinct white head, neck and breast that contrast with the chestnut belly and underwings. Also, note the obvious signs of moulting primary, secondary and tail feathers.

The juvenile bird (below) shows distinctly pale primary-wing panels, dark secondaries and dark-tipped primaries.

Lee Tiah Khee
September 2007

If you like this post please tap on the Like button at the left bottom of page. Any views and opinions expressed in this article are solely those of the authors/contributors, and are not endorsed by the Lee Kong Chian Natural History Museum (LKCNHM, NUS) or its affiliated institutions. Readers are encouraged to use their discretion before making any decisions or judgements based on the information presented.

YC Wee

Dr Wee played a significant role as a green advocate in Singapore through his extensive involvement in various organizations and committees: as Secretary and Chairman for the Malayan Nature Society (Singapore Branch), and with the Nature Society (Singapore) as founding President (1978-1995). He has also served in the Nature Reserve Board (1987-1989), Nature Reserves Committee (1990-1996), National Council on the Environment/Singapore Environment Council (1992-1996), Work-Group on Nature Conservation (1992) and Inter-Varsity Council on the Environment (1995-1997). He is Patron of the Singapore Gardening Society and was appointed Honorary Museum Associate of the Lee Kong Chian Natural History Museum (LKCNHM) in 2012. In 2005, Dr Wee started the Bird Ecology Study Group. With more than 6,000 entries, the website has become a valuable resource consulted by students, birdwatchers and researchers locally and internationally. The views and opinions expressed in this article are his own, and do not represent those of LKCNHM, the National University of Singapore or its affiliated institutions.

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