Whistling Kite (species: Haliastur sphenurus) in Myall Lakes NP (Gaia Guide)
Haliastur sphenurus
Whistling Kite

©Geoffrey Shuetrim and Ellie Shuetrim: Whistling Kite (Haliastur sphenurus)

©Geoffrey Shuetrim and Ellie Shuetrim: Whistling Kite flight profile view

©Tom Tarrant: At Point Lookout
Kingdom Animalia
Phylum Chordata
Class Aves
Order Accipitriformes
Family Accipitridae
Genus Haliastur
Species Haliastur sphenurus
Status unspecified



Distinguishing features

Male and female plumages are the same. Adult birds are a pale buff on the head, breast and tail, with browner wings and black flight feathers.

Immature birds are a heavily streaked reddish-brown with prominent pale spots on the wings.

Throughout their lives, Whistling Kites have bone-colored legs and feet, which are unfeathered.

Overall, the Whistling Kite looks small-headed and long-tailed, with wingtips falling well short of the tail tip when the bird is perched. Though its legs are short, the bird walks easily on the ground.

They soar on slightly bowed wings, with their long flight feathers often well-splayed. The striking pattern on their underwings is distinctive. (Wikipedia)


  • Up to 60 cm (Length of specimen)


  • From 0.38 kg to 1.05 kg


  • From 123 cm to 146 cm - applies to Mature specimens



©Atlas of Living Australia: Australian distribution: Whistling Kite (Haliastur sphenurus)

Distribution and habitat preferences

They prefer open or lightly wooded areas (Wikipedia).

Web resources