Australian kestrel? and whistling kite

8 posts / 0 new
Last post
Birdgirl2009's picture
Australian kestrel? and whistling kite

This morning I went out to some open land off Raymond Terrace road to look for birds of prey. My first sighting was of a whistling kite. The camera could not focus fast enough as he flew overhead, but I took the photo anyway, so I would have it. The second bird of prey was hovering and plunging straight down into the grass. He also kindly perched for a while, so I could photograph his face. I have cropped the photos to help with identification. I think it is an Australian kestrel because of the brown and dark grey upper wings, white underside and black band on the tail. But in my book the Australian kestrels, m & f, have a yellow eye ring and my bird does not. Denis or ed, can you help?

whistling kite

whistling kite

Australian kestrel?

Australian kestrel?

Australian kestrel?

Australian kestrel?

DenisWilson's picture

Hi Birdgirl
Your description of the Kestrel behaviour is spot on. Kestrels and BS Kite both hover, but the Kestrel hovers with flapping wing tips, whereas the BSK flaps whole wing, and flaps more heavily. Both are small hawks, but the Kestrel is much lighter (in weight).
Image shows grey tail and black band on tip - that's a male bird.
There is only one Kestrel in Australia as far as I know, so a kestrel is a kestrel. I have never studied the eye ring as closely as you mention.
Whistling Kite is correct too.
First image shows relatively long, drooping tail. Second image shows the open wing tips ("fingers"). This feature is variable, as the birds constantly adjust themselves in flight, but WK tends to hold the wing tips "open" (fingered) more often than Little Eagle.
Confidence factor - you were 100% correct.

aa's picture

top stuff birdgirl, you're getting the raptors now :)

i agree with dennis, it's a kestrel alright, cheers

tarkineus's picture

You did well to capture these birds at all, Sis. I checked my book and found that Tasmania has them too, so maybe one day (should it ever stop raining here) ... ?

Regards, "Tark" - Olympus 4/3rds colour

Lyn's picture

Lovely interesting photos - well done! Wish we had some of that blue sky here!

GeorgeP's picture

Nice shots, Birdgirl, and so lucky to see two in one day. If you check the menu on your FZ-50, I think you'll find a focus setting that allows continuous focussing. This will allow the camera to track and keep the subject in focus even if it moves.


Melbourne, VIC

smeedingo2's picture

HI Birdgirl
Top shots you are right on the money with the ID


Nice ones Birdgirl,thanks.

 and   @birdsinbackyards
                 Subscribe to me on YouTube