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Brahminy Kite

Name for a medium-sized bird of prey (fig.), with the scientific name Haliastur indus and belonging to the family of Accipitridae. It has a white head and breast with fine, threadlike, vertical brown stripes, a rounded tail, a chestnut plumage and wings with black tips (fig.), which are angled during flight (fig.). It was once a common sight, but has now virtually disappeared from inland regions, though several birds can still be spotted at the lower Mekhong River area (fig.), near the Thai-Lao border in Ubon Ratchathani. Today however, they are mostly found near the coast (fig.), especially in mangrove forests and near fishing ports, such as that of Koh Panyi (fig.) in Phang Nga province, where it flies around in small groups, feeding on the leftovers from the many fish restaurants, that are thrown in the sea. Also known as the Red-backed Sea-eagle (fig.) and in Thai called yiaw daeng (เหยี่ยวแดง). Although this could be translated as ‘Red Kite’, the bird is not to be confused with the Milvus milvus. See also WILDLIFE PICTURES.