Black-shouldered Kites – aerial acrobatics

posted in: Courtship-Mating, Raptors | 3

“Again one of these precious birding moments. I arrived at a water reservoir not far from my village and saw two adult Black-shouldered Kites (Elanus caeruleus), also called Black-winged Kites, fly together, quietly, not chasing.

“They moved on to the other side of the water and suddenly one descended, hovered and started to ‘attack’ the other. In talks with an expert [Dr Chaiyan Kasorndorkbua, Kasetsart University, Bangkok] it seemed to be a courting pair, stabilising their bond.

“Funny and/or crazy thing however was the fact that the one ‘attacking’ kite was sometimes flying UPSIDE DOWN! Amazing, legs stretched, feet in the air, he did that several times, a great view.

“I took quite some pictures but as the distance was quite large the quality is not very good, sorry for that. Main thing I wanted to show you the acrobatics that this Kite performed. It was a pleasant thing to witness…”

Joe Hartman
Chaiwan, NE Thailand
24th March 2012

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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.

3 Responses

  1. Daisy O'Neill

    Welcome to BESG Joe!

    Remembered NGeo once seen on screen to have breeding pairs locked their talons and spinning a spiral descent only to part ways just before touch down.What a sight you must have enjoyed. Glad for you.



    • Tou Jing Yi

      I think I saw that too, two WBSE locking talons and spinning, but that one seemed to be 2 adult males fighting or something like that, but it is known that some raptors do adopt that kind of courtship activity, must be exciting to watch this in the wild!

  2. Willa

    Awesome website you have here but I was wondering if you knew of any user discussion forums that cover the same topics discussed in this article? I’d really love to be a part of community where I can get responses from other knowledgeable individuals that share the same interest. If you have any suggestions, please let me know. Thank you!

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