black kites baiting

To: <>
Subject: black kites baiting
From: "Greg Roberts" <>
Date: Mon, 4 Jul 2011 08:48:06 +1000
See here for an interesting observation I had of black kites:

""Message: 1
Date: Sun, 3 Jul 2011 13:43:22 +0930
From: "Anthony Molyneux" <>
To: <>
Subject: Firehawks of the Top End
Message-ID: <>
Content-Type: text/plain;       charset="iso-8859-1"

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.


Anthony Molyneux
s Database: 1516/3740 - Release Date: 07/02/11


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