Last weekend I went to Manning Point for a 24 hour camp with the dogs, lured by the promise of good weather, which didn’t eventuate. So this weekend we went back again. We’d barely set up the tent and put the billy on for tea when this young Square-tailed Kite circled the campground.
The Square-tailed Kite Lophoictinia isura is a medium sized raptor endemic to mainland Australia. It is a species which can spend many hours on the wing with little active flight and can be observed either soaring high over open country, scrub or woodland or close to tree tops and through the tree canopy. It is a specialist hunter of passerines, especially honeyeaters and insects in the tree canopy, picking most prey items from the outer foliage by skimming and circling just above or below the tree tops.
The paperbarks and eucalypts in the area were in full flower, attracting lorikeets and honeyeaters in the hundreds, so it would have been a top spot for him, though I’m pleased I didn’t have to witness his lunch.
The Square-tailed Kite is sparsely distributed throughout the Australian mainland, primarily within 250km of the coast and generally absent from treeless inland areas and from dense forests.