Black Kites are very common around Broome and they are often observed in very large flocks. The Black Kites are distinguished in flight by their forked tail, which easily separates them from the numerous Whistling Kites that are present around Broome. Black Kites are always present at the waste disposal site in very large flocks, because they scavenge among the rubbish. They soar over town and also along the coastal vegetation. It is not unusual to see Black Kites resting on the beach, where it is often cooler. The forked tail is evident when they perch on beach debris.

Black Kites on the beach

We really don’t like the presence of Black Kites along the beach when the Pied Oystercatchers are breeding. They present a real threat to the birds and have been known to take young chicks. The adult Pied Oystercatcher that is sitting on the eggs will lay as flat as possible to protect the eggs. The other Pied Oystercatcher will also try and distract the Black Kites and they may both fly directly at Black Kites to try and chase them away.

Pied Oystercatchers at a nest site with Black Kites present

Of course Black Kites also breed and at the moment there is a nest very close to the highway. There are very few trees across the open plains to the south of Broome, but one tree was deemed suitable for nesting. The one tree with no foliage has become the nesting site for a pair of Black Kites. Despite the fact that they appear to leave the nest whenever vehicles drive by they have now got two young in the nest. The header photo shows the small group of trees where the Black Kites have chosen to nest this year.

Black Kite nest

Most of the Black Kite nest appears natural, but there is one length of a unnatural material on the left. Sadly this is often the case when you find a nest regardless of its location nowadays. Rubbish travels far and wide across our landscape world-wide. Whether the rubbish gets dropped in the location or is blown there it still seems apparent that we all need to take care with our rubbish disposal.

Two young Black Kites in the nest

The adult Black Kites will no doubt find enough roadkill to raise their young. There are very few other raptors in that area at the moment, so the competition for food is low. However, I do hope they choose to scavenge at the rubbish tip rather than on the beach when they reach adulthood!

Written by Clare M
Clare and her husband, Grant, have lived permanently in Broome, Western Australia since 1999 after living in various outback locations around Western Australia and Darwin. She has lived in the Middle East and the United States and traveled extensively in Europe. She monitors Pied Oystercatchers breeding along a 23km stretch of Broome's coastline by bicycle and on foot. She chooses not to participate in social media, but rather wander off into the bush for peace and tranquility. Thankfully she can write posts in advance and get away from technology!