A Brahminy kite (Haliastur indus) on Siargao Island.

A Brahminy Kite Across the River


Late yesterday afternoon I spotted these brahminy kites across the river from our property. 

Brahminy kites (Haliastur indus) on Siargao Island.

I’ve been recently scouring the trees with binoculars and a spotting scope hoping to find the white-bellied sea eagle again and maybe even its nest. However, I’ve mostly seen the brahminy kites which are common residents on Siargao. We watch these raptors daily as they circle overhead looking for fish and other prey in and around the river. Besides fish, the brahminy kite eats crustaceans, smaller birds, amphibians, reptiles, and even bats.

Brahminy kite (Haliastur indus) on Siargao Island.
A brahminy kite (Haliastur indus) seen resting in a tree between hunting forays.

The brahminy kite ranges from the Indian subcontinent, Southeast Asia, and all the way to Australia. On Siargao, this bird is the most commonly seen raptor. They’re often observed around rivers, estuaries, rice fields, marshes aw well as in the mangroves and around the port areas.

Some other raptors we see here on Siargao are the Philippine serpent eagle and the Philippine honey buzzard. The chesnut-colored plumage and black wing tips of the brahminy kite and its bright white head and breast makes it easy to identify and distinguish it from other raptors, however.

Brahminy kites (Haliastur indus) on Siargao Island.
A pair of brahminy kites

As an aside, I’ve heard more than a few visitors call this bird the “Philippine eagle” which, of course, is much larger and very distinctive in appearance. I’m not aware of any recent records of the Philippine eagle on Siargao.

The local name for the brahminy kite is easy enough to remember. It’s called ‘banog’ which means kite!

Here’s another shot from last year of our most common raptor together with a crow taken early on a rainy morning:

A Brahminy kite (Haliastur indus) sharing space with a large-billed crow.
A brahminy kite sharing space with a large-billed crow.


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