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Square-tailed kite

Lophoictinia isura

(Photo from Flickr)

Common name:
square-tailed kite (en); milhafre-de-rabo-quadrado (pt); milan à queue carrée (fr); milano colicuadrado (es); schopfmilan (de)

Order Falconiformes
Family Accipitridae

This species is endemic to Australia, breeding from northern Queensland south to Victoria but being found throughout most of the country outside the breeding season, with the exceptions of northern South Australia and eastern Western Australia.

These birds are 50-55 cm long and have a wingspan of 130-145 cm. They weigh 450-650 g.

Habitat:The square-tailed kite is mostly found in coastal and sub-coastal, Eucalyptus dominated open forests and woodlands, and inland riparian woodlands. they also use coastal heathland, forest edges and wooded suburban areas. They are present from sea level up to an altitude of 1.000 m.

They mostly hunt small birds, particularly honeyeaters, including their eggs and nestling, but also large insects, reptiles, frogs and small mammals.

Square-tailed kites are monogamous and mate for life. They breed in July-December and the nest is a large platform made of sticks and lined with green Eucalyptus leaves. It is placed in a fork in a tall tree, 8-34 m above the ground. The female lays 2-3 eggs, which are incubated by both sexes for 37-42 days. The chicks are fed by both parents and fledge 8-9 weeks after hatching, but only become fully independent 1-2 months later. Each pair raises a single clutch per year.

IUCN status – LC (Least Concern)
This species has a very large breeding range and the global population is estimated at 1.000-10.000 individuals. The population is suspected to be stable in the absence of evidence for any declines or substantial threats. However, it may be vulnerable to certain activities which include habitat loss by logging, clearing and burning for cultivation and grazing, as well as illegal egg collection or hunting, nest disturbance and unsuitable fire regime management.

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