Brahminy Kite passing on prey in midair

On 26th December 2011, William Ip was at the Sungei Buloh Wetland Reserve photographing birds. There, he had an exciting encounter with a pair of Brahminy Kites (Haliastur indus).

Out of nowhere, a kite suddenly swooped down towards the sea to snatch a live rat from the surface of the water (above). With the rat tightly clamped in its talons, the kite flew up to meet up with its mate (below).

High up in mid-air, the kite expertly passed on its prey to its mate (below). Was this a courtship feeding or was it a male passing the food to the female for the chicks?

William Ip
Singapore
January 2012

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3 Responses

  1. This is a great piece of nature documentation, a second by second account of the aerial action right in
    front of William Ip’s camera, a very rare event, it is with great skill that he manages to capture it all. Such contributions by photographers like him will only bring BESG to greater heights. Cheers !!!!

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  2. Daisy O'Neill

    Nice work of quick reflex, photographic skill and birdingluck, William.

    If the receiving raptor is a female Brahminy Kite, most likely she is taking the rat to be fed to her chicks.

    There seemed to be quite a regulated nature’s order of arrangement between partners of who is the finder of fodder and who gets to feed the young a in this case species.

    Cheers,
    Daisy O’Neill

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  3. Yes agree with comment, very well documented. Possibly as William says male to female (mate) transfer. I considered the small 3rd possibility of an adult giving to a “fully grown juvenile” i.e. still feeding the young adult under its care and perhaps this was some form of training in prey capture.

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