Black Shouldered Kite
Earlier this week I noticed a Black Shouldered Kite hovering in the air just over the road from our house. This species is common and widespread in our district. In fact it is widespread throughout mainland Australia but is generally absent from Tasmania where it only occurs as a vagrant.
I enjoy seeing this species anywhere. It always appears so clean with beautiful colours and lines. The throat feathers seem pure white, the nape and back a soft grey in stark contrast with the black on the wings. The black eyebrow markings gives it a startlingly serious countenance.
Some years ago we would see this species on an almost daily basis. I have also recorded it nesting only 400 metres to the west and about 500 metres to the north of our home. In recent years it has seemed less conspicuous. Over the same period the frequency of the much bigger Black Kite has increased markedly. It is possible that the latter has largely replaced the Black Shouldered Kite in our little part of the world.
If this is so, it is a shame. The little kite is so much more attractive than its larger cousin.