Whistling Kite at Swanport Reserve, Murray Bridge

Whistling Kite

Whistling Kite

A few days ago we had a picnic lunch at Swanport Reserve. This reserve is about a ten minute drive from home. It is about five kilometres south of the CBD of Murray Bridge. This pleasant reserve is a favourite of many locals for ‘picnics, barbecues, fishing and it has become one of my favourite birding spots.

Whistling Kite

Whistling Kite

This is one very reliable place to see Whistling Kites, as shown in the photos on this page. Come to think of it, Whistling Kites are found all along the River Murray. They are also present throughout most of Australia in suitable habitat. Their preferred habitat seems to be near watercourses, lakes, estuaries, swamps and open forests. Its distinctive (and diagnostic?) whistling call is a common sound in rural areas of Australia. Here I must give a note of warning: Black Kites sometimes give a similar whistling call, albeit somewhat more muted and not as frequent nor as shrill.

Whistling Kite

Whistling Kite

I am still having some trouble taking photos of flying birds. The one above of a soaring Whistling Kite is not as sharp as I would like, but it is the best of a bad lot. Significant though is the diagnostic underwing patterns of the feathers, and so it is worth showing. One day I need to spend a few hours practising taking photos of moving birds. If any of my readers have hints on doing this, please leave a comment.

Click on the photo to enlarge the images.


4 Responses to “Whistling Kite at Swanport Reserve, Murray Bridge”

  1. […] Whistling Kite at Swanport Reserve – from my Birding Blog. […]

  2. […] Whistling Kite at Swanport Reserve – from my Birding Blog. […]

  3. Lesley says:

    Hi again! Trevor, I hope you can solve this for me. I’m used to the Black Shouldered kites, Nankeen Kestrels, Wedgetails, goshawks (mainly Brown), but having moved to Griffith we’ve seen something I have (in my limited wisdom) labeled a Black Kite. They are large birds, mainly seen in pairs, sometimes soaring, sometimes on the side of the road eating road-kill.
    They appear to be an even chocolate brown, even under the wings and the distinguishing feature is a swallow-like tail in flight.
    At Darlington Point, on the Murrumbidgee a week ago, we counted 14 of them soaring together on the air currents. They would have been a couple of hundred feet above us and the “V” in the tail was quite noticeable. The only other place I sighted a pair twice, was in Goulburn a year or so ago and then they moved on,I guess. I love these birds and would like more info? Chookas, Lesley.

  4. Trevor says:

    Yes – you have identified them correctly Lesley. The Black Kite is a dark chocolate brown colour with the V in the tail. They are a bird of the northern and inland parts of Australia and very common in the NT and Queesland and Nthn WA. In my experience they are gradually moving further south. Twenty years ago they were uncommon here in Murray Bridge but now it is common to see singles through to four or five at a time. Near a local abbatoirs I once saw about fifty soaring overhead.

    The similar Whistling Kite is lighter in colour and the underwing pattern is quite different. The Wh. Kite has a rounded tail. Don’t be confused by the call; the Black Kite can whistle just like the Whistling Kite, only softer.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.