Pellets from Tuas: 6. Nesting of Black-shouldered Kites

posted in: Nesting, Raptors | 1

The nest of the Black-shouldered Kite (Elanus caeruleus) is loosely constructed of twigs placed around the forks of branches high up in the tree. The first chick was seen in the nest on 17th January 2015, the day observations started. Based on this and the reported incubation period of 30-33 days, the egg was most probably laid sometime in mid-December 2014.

The second chick was seen the next day (above), the third three days later (below)…

…and the fourth chick four days after that (below).

By early February, the nest was overcrowded, what with four chicks in it. The oldest, nearly a month old, was seen perching at the edge of the nest, sometimes moving onto one of the branches that support the nest for a short period before hopping back in.

By this time the adults were not seen in the nest except feeding times. At least one adult was always perching on a branch or tree nearby to keep an eye on the chicks. A pair of House Crows (Corvus splendens) and a Brahimy Kite (Haliastur indus) were around, ever ready to raid the nest LINK.

The two older chicks fledged on 13th February (above, below). The third chick fledged a day later, followed by the fourth the next day. Based on this and the reported fledging period of 30-35 days, we are correct in estimating the time of first egg laying to be around mid-December 2014.

Chan Yoke Meng & Melinda Chan
March 2015

Thiollay, J. M., 1994. Family Accipitridae (Hawks and Eagles). In: del Hoyo, J., Elliott, A. & Sargatal, J. eds. Handbook of the birds of the world. Vol. 2. New world vultures to guineafowl. Lynx Editions, Barcelona. Pp. 52-205.

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