Our resident Black Kites have featured a number of times in recent weeks. Two individuals were soaring over Newstead today.
A brief few minutes of sunshine helped me realise that this species is not at all aptly named. It’s not really black at all – the upper parts are a dull brown with pale highlights, while underneath, rich chestnut feathers are a feature.
Milvus migrans is also known as the Fork-tailed Kite, Kite-Hawk, and in India the Pariah Kite, on account of its scavenging behaviour around human settlements, where sometimes thousands of kites will gather in search of food. As the photographs below indicate, these common names don’t do justice to this beautiful raptor.