Sunshine Coast Birds

Birding and other wildlife experiences from the Sunshine Coast and elsewhere in Australia - and from overseas - with scribblings about travel, environmental issues, kayaking, hiking and camping.

Friday, 3 November 2017

Square-tailed Kite Nesting on Sunshine Coast

Square-tailed Kite
A pair of Square-tailed Kites have again successfully raised a youngster at their nest in open forest at Tinbeerwah on the Sunshine Coast.The nest is close to a mountain bike path in what is now Tewantin National Park. Local birders have had the nest under observation for some time but I was unable to connect with it until today, having failed in my first attempt a few days ago to find it.

Square-tailed Kite
An adult kite was sunning itself in the canopy of a tall eucalypt near the nest when I arrived this morning. After a while I heard the juvenile calling about 50m away and the adult flew to join it. Both birds then returned to the nest, where I saw the adult feeding the youngster on what presumably were the remains of a bird or nestling.

Square-tailed Kite
After 40 minutes of so both birds departed the nest, the juvenile clearly very close to independence.
The birds nested in this area last year and have done so in previous years. The species appears to be loyal to favoured nesting sites. A pair have nested at Mt Coot-tha in Brisbane in similar habitat for several years in succession.

Square-tailed Kite
Similarly, a pair of Square-tailed Kites have nested each year in woodland near Bundaberg since 1985, according to local birding legend Eric Zillmann.

Juvenile (L) & adult (R) at the nest

Some observers believe the population of this species, generally considered one of Australia's most rare raptors, may be on the rise. Birdline in NSW no longer bothers to publish records of Square-tailed Kite. I see the kites from time to time in my garden at Ninderry and come across them regularly on and around the Sunshine Coast. They occur mostly over open forest and well-wooded country but I have seen them flying over parks and farmland, in wallum heath and even on the beach at Coolum.

If they are increasing, that would defy a trend in Australia of raptor populations generally being in decline - in some cases severely, with the Letter-winged Kite now in dire straits.

Dingo x wild dog
Also today I called in to Frogmouth Lane nearby, where a dingo/wild dog was seen.

Close by also is the Noosa Botanic Gardens, where a pair of Barred Cuckoo-shrikes have been hanging around for a couple of weeks. I found them easily enough. 

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