Haliastur indus

Picture of Haliastur indus (Brahminy Kite) in flight

(Brahminy Kite)




Haliastur indus

Common name(s)

Brahminy Kite

Main colour(s)

Reddish brown with white




Orpheus Island Research Station


The Brahminy kite is one of the medium sized raptors found throughout northern Australia. This distinctive bird with white head and breast contrasting with the reddish-brown body is quite commonly seen flying around the area. The wings are broad, with dark wing tips and it has a short white tipped tail. The male is smaller than the female.

The main habitat is coastal, favoring mangrove swamps and estuaries, though it is sometimes seen over forests and along rivers. It is mostly residential to a particular area but is possibly nomadic within the local area.

The Brahminy Kite feeds on carrion (dead animals), insects and fish. It is often seen swooping low over water, the ground or tree tops and snatches live prey or carrion from the surface before coming to rest on a feeding perch (tree branch or exposed coral bommie).

Breeding season is from April to October. The large nest is usually located high up in trees overlooking feeding areas, made from sticks, seaweed or driftwood and lined with a variety of materials such as lichens, bones, seaweed and even paper. Both parents incubate the eggs for around 28 days and the young are fed bill to bill with small pieces of food.

Sites where this species can be found at OIRS

This species is very commonly found throughout the Palm island Group. There is a successful nesting site within Pioneer Bay with breeding behavior evident April to June each year. Can be frequently seen feeding on octopus and snake eels at low tide in Pioneer Bay.

Research that has been undertaken at OIRS