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Foraging, Breeding Behaviour and Diet of a Family of Black-shouldered Kites Elanus axillaris near Tamworth, New South Wales

Australian Field Ornithology
Volume 23 Issue 3 (Sep 2006)

Abstract: The foraging, breeding behaviour and diet of a family of Black-shouldered Kites Elanus axillaris were studied by 68 hours of observation from the incubation period to the end of the post-fledging period, and by analysis of pellets, near Tamworth on the North-west Slopes of New South Wales in April-July 2004. The male Kite foraged mostly in mid morning and early to mid afternoon, aerially (82% of search time), with 77% of 44 attacks successful. Pellets (n = 30) consisted entirely of House Mice Mus domesticus, and observed prey items were mice (n = 58) or mouse-sized mammals (n = 3). The male's capture, consumption and prey-delivery rates peaked in the week before fledging (mean 0.9, 1.2 and 1.2 captures/h in the incubation, nestling and post-fledging phases, respectively). The female performed most care of eggs and nestlings, though the male performed a minor share of incubation and brooding. The nestling period lasted 36 days, and post-fledging period at least 36 days with parental feeding for at least 22 days. Parental behaviour, vocalisations, hunting behaviour, and development of juveniles are described.

To cite this article: Debus, SJS; Olde, GS; Marshall, N; Meyer, J and Rose, AB. Foraging, Breeding Behaviour and Diet of a Family of Black-shouldered Kites Elanus axillaris near Tamworth, New South Wales [online]. Australian Field Ornithology, Vol. 23, No. 3, Sep 2006: 130-143. Availability: <http://search.informit.com.au/documentSummary;dn=307940837007302;res=IELHSS> ISSN: 1448-0107. [cited 30 Sep 16].

Personal Author: Debus, SJS; Olde, GS; Marshall, N; Meyer, J; Rose, AB; Source: Australian Field Ornithology, Vol. 23, No. 3, Sep 2006: 130-143 Document Type: Journal Article ISSN: 1448-0107 Subject: Black-shouldered kite; Birds--Food; Birds of prey--Breeding; Peer Reviewed: Yes Affiliation: (1) Division of Zoology, University of New England, Armidale NSW 2351, email: sdebus@une.edu.au
(2) Associate, Australian Museum, 61 Boundary Street, Forster NSW 2428

Database: Humanities & Social Sciences Collection