Kites and Kestrels

On our recent trip to Clare I was interested to note the large number of Black Shouldered Kites and Nankeen Kestrels near the road as we drove along. Normally on the two hour trip we see one or two of each of these two species of raptor. On this trip, however, I must have seen at least a dozen of each species. This is an estimate – I didn’t do an exact count as I drove along.

Both species are common and widespread throughout the rural areas of South Australia. They are frequently encountered along country roads. From time to time they are very numerous, often in response to mice plagues which occur every so often in the Australian farming areas. Another species, the Letter Winged Kite, which looks very similar to the Black Shouldered Kite, is also known to breed very quickly in response to a mouse plague, and irruptions of this species occur in southern regions which are not normally part of their range.


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