The Brahminy Kite


Known as the “Red-backed White-necked Eagle” by the locals in the Welu River estuary, these birds have a common name called “Brahminy Kites”.

The Brahminy Kite is a medium-sized bird of prey. Female adults are bigger than the male adults. The length of a female when measured from its beak to the tail is approximately 51 cm while the total length of a male is shorter at approximately 48 cm. They are distinctive in appearance with a hefty body, short neck, big round eyes, and grayish beak with the upper sharp and curved beak for tearing flesh, a round tail, yellowish legs, together with powerful sharp claws to grab and hold its prey.

Another remarkable characteristic of the Brahminy Kite is the stunning body shades of reddish brown plumage and a contrasting white head, neck, breast, and streaks of black inserting along the body.

The Brahminy Kite is endemic in the South Asia region including Sri Lanka, India, Pakistan, Bangladesh and also can be found in New South Wales, Australia.

In Thailand, we can find Brahminy Kites in every region because their habitats are inland wetlands, plains, agricultural sites, sparse forests, estuaries, coastal plains, and small islands. They also like to nest next to villages with big rivers, such as, Len Tak Village next to Welu River in Chanthaburi province.

In searching for a meal, a Brahminy Kite will fly in a circle and with its keen vision it dives down with razor-sharp talons to grab its prey and then pull up to a high treetop to finish. Its diet includes frogs, toads, snakes, crabs, small reptiles, fowl and animal carcasses.

The breeding season is during winter to summer. They will nest high on a tree near water and lay 2-4 eggs at a time. It takes 30 days to hatch.

As one of the endangered species, the Brahminy Kite is currently preserved under the National Wild Animal Reservation and Protection Act 1992.