Firehawks of the Top End
"Anthony Molyneux" <>
Sun, 3 Jul 2011 13:43:22 +0930
Hi Bob, I have had this question on many occasions of whether the Black Kites
deliberately light the fires when I was doing the raptor presentations at the
Alice Springs Desert Park. I have never said that they definitely don't do this
behaviour however I always gave my thoughts which follow;
I have watched numerous Black Kites and watched their behaviour when swooping
down to the ground to pick up food scraps, reptiles etc..... if you watch this
behaviour they snatch at the prey with their legs thrust forward and their legs
are then propelled backwards as they continue their flight. The fly on briefly
to see if there are any other kites that may steal their food (they are good
pirates of food from other kites) and then look down to see what they have
caught. If they have missed the prey and perhaps grabbed a stick, rock,
etc....... they will then drop that stick or rock. Now translate this behaviour
to a fire and if they missed the reptile and grabbed a stick (which may feel
like a lizard??) and then realise they have missed they will then drop the
stick. If the stick is smouldering or on fire it will then start another fire.
>From this behaviour they MAY have a learned behaviour or is it just good
>fortune rather than good management??
I don't have a definitive answer but above are my observations.
Subject: New post at The Northern Myth: Firehawks of the
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My latests post at The Northern Myth - having a look at behaviour of birds
around fires in the Top End. Any thoughts or anecdotes welcome!
The Northern Myth blog
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Anthony Molyneux <=
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