Spirit bird in Rabbit-proof Fence

To: Annabel Ashworth/Hoskins <>
Subject: Spirit bird in Rabbit-proof Fence
From: (Andrew Taylor)
Date: Mon, 6 Jan 2003 15:01:30 +1100
On Sun, Jan 05, 2003 at 09:58:56PM +1100, Annabel Ashworth/Hoskins wrote:
>    Just a quick comment on the bird call of the black kite in
>    Rabbit-Proof Fence.
>    I recently saw a lot of black kites on a trip up north, and was
>    surprised to hear one give a call that was virtually the same as a
>    whistling kite.   Maybe the calll in the film really did come from a
>    black kite?

Its a bit of mystery.  I believe I've heard a Black Kite make a call very
similar to the most common  Whistling Kite call, at Mataranka (in the NT)
HANZAB has a sonogram of a Black Kite call from Jabiru which also appears
very similar.  But when this was last discussed I discovered some people
with significant experience in areas with Black Kites haven't
heard this call.

In two subsequent trips to the NT I've  hoped to hear the call again
but haven't or at least haven't been able to acertain that its a Black
Kite making the call.  I was starting to wonder if I and the HANZAB
sound recordist had been mistaken.  Other posssibilities are that only
Kites in some parts of the NT make the call or (as was suggested to me)
maybe its associated with breeding.

Another puzzling aspect is that the species aren't closely related.  Is it
mimicry rather than coicidence - which would be interesting in a raptor.

Andrew Taylor
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