Whistling Kite at Monarto Zoo, South Australia
Yesterday I wrote about the Black Kite I saw on a visit to Monarto Zoo last year. Just before that sighting I took the above photo of a Whistling Kite. This was soaring quite a bit higher than the Black Kite, so the photo is nowhere near as good. Clicking on the photo will enlarge it slightly.
Whistling Kites are widespread throughout most of Australia. Their preferred habitats include open forest, hilly areas, timbered watercourses and around lakes, swamps, estuaries and mudflats. I have usually seen this species as a single bird, though along the nearby River Murray I have occasionally seen two or three near each other.
The name comes from the distinctive shrill whistling call. When breeding they make a large platform of sticks high in a eucalypt tree (or other convenient tree). This nest can be re-used and added to over many years until it is quite large.