Sunday, March 1, 2009

is it a brahminy kite or a white-bellied eagle?

they (first and second pictures) are the same and yet not the same. they are the same in the sense that they are both eagles and they are not the same as they are different species.

i had mistaken the brahminy kite for the white-bellied eagle when i first saw it flying near the shore at west coast park. today, when i was at the marsh garden, i saw it close-up and realised that it was a different kind of eagle. (by the way, at the marsh garden, nparks have put up two information boards and one of the boards, the brahminy kite is featured.)

usually when i visit the west coast park, i will head first for the marsh garden to look for the family of lesser whistling ducks. today, i could not find a single whistling duck at the marsh. instead, i saw this eagle flying over the water, trying to catch some small fish. soon after, it was joined by another eagle. when they rested on a nearby tree, i recognised them as brahminy kites.

the brahminy kite is slightly smaller than the white-bellied eagle. like the white-bellied eagle, the brahminy kite snatches it prey with its talons; it does not dive into the water. their habitats are quite similar.

habitats best suited to brahminy kites are broad mudflats such as those found in mangroves, estuaries and coasts. they are also found in freshwater wetlands such as ricefields and marshes. in sngapore, they are also found inland near water and even in cultivated areas (gardens, parks). they may roost together in trees along the coast.

like the white-bellied eagles, the brahminy kites prefer to nest in mangroves, usually in tall emergent trees. some use dead trees (perhaps the tree was alive when it was first used as a nest site). on swampy sites that are more secure from land predators, they may nest as low as 5-6 m. but on dry land, usually at 20-25 m. in singapore, they also nest along the coasts in casuarina trees, and near reservoirs. although they do not share nesting trees, pairs may nest less than 100 m apart.

1 comment:

nah said...

Like other raptors which hunt for food on the wing, using their keen senses, eagles have excellent eyesight.
Some years ago, I encountered this amazing spectacle of an eagle appearing from nowhere, swooping down, and pouncing on a live catfish which I had used as bait, on two hooks, after I had cast the line out into the air. Its powerful talons gripped the fish so tightly that it was as though I had landed a 12 kilos toman fish and was fighting it.
Although I could not establish without a doubt that the prey was a white bellied eagle, I think it was most probable as these are plentiful in reservoirs, and wetlands.