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Pets & wildlife

Kites and cuckoos

Marianne Cannon

Marianne Cannon

September 14, 2012

Two fascinating birds, Australia’s black-shouldered kite and the Horsefields Bronze cuckoo – hear all the details as I talk with ecologist Sue Stevens.

Black shouldered kite Photo Frankzed


Black-shouldered kite

From a distance you might mistake this bird for a seagull, and wonder what’s a lone gull doing in the open field? But in actual fact you would be looking at a Black-shouldered Kite, in other words an entirely different bird.
Most certainly a farmer’s or even gardener’s friend if you have a garden big enough.

Black shouldered kite attacking Photo Frankzed


Like all the elanid kites, it is a specialist predator of mice and rats, which it hunts singly or in pairs by hovering in mid-air above open land.
Black-shouldered kites form monogamous pairs, breeding between August and January. Though reported across Australia, they are most common in the south-east and south-west corners of the country..
Let’s hear more…


Horsefields bronze cuckoo Photo by Frankzed


Horsefields bronze cuckoo

They’re listed as common but migratory, appearing only in Spring and Summer. Did you know that cuckoos only call during the breeding season?
Any other cuckoo won’t have the combination of green sheen on the upperparts, dark eye-stripe, white eyebrow and barring underneath.In Western Australia, some populations may have declined because populations of their host have declined due to land clearance for agriculture.


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