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Yellow-billed Kite

Yellow-billed Kite
Photo Information
Copyright: Anna Eksteen (Miss_Piggy) Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Note Writer [C: 2285 W: 5 N: 5300] (18714)
Genre: Animals
Medium: Color
Date Taken: 2009-10-12
Categories: Birds
Camera: Sony Cybershot DSC H9, Carl Zeiss Vario-Tessar 15x Optical zoom, Digital ISO 200
Exposure: f/4.5, 1/500 seconds
More Photo Info: [view]
Photo Version: Original Version
Travelogue: Kruger NP 2009
Date Submitted: 2010-03-09 14:50
Viewed: 9675
Points: 84
[Note Guidelines] Photographer's Note
Yellow-billed Kite / Milvus migrans egyptius

The Yellow-billed kite is the 11th in the series of the birds of the Kruger National Park, which I am currently sharing. Enjoy!

This image of the Yellow-billed kite, with a dead squirrel in the road, was taken near the Oliphant's camp. We where quite a distance away from the bird when I took this photograph. Loot wanted to keep the distance for us to have the opportunity of taking some images before the kite grabbed its prey and flew off. Unfortunately all the effort we took to make the best of the situation was fruitless. There was this lady, in a vehicle next to ours, and after she had taken a few shots with her match-box, point-and-shoot camera she suddenly started her cars engine and drove straight towards the bird. Needless to say, but all the potential images we still could have taken had just there, the moment she drove off, gone down the drain as the kite flew away. Loot did not even have the opportunity to capture one shot as he was still busy parking the car at a save distance, to try and make the best of the situation.

Besides Loot and myself, there where a number of other people who was also busy to try and capture some photographs of the bird and they all got rather upset with the inconsiderate lady, and some even expressed their frustration in such impolite manner that I was sure that lady's ears where burning afterwards. One just does not do what she has done in a game reserve, or even in a zoo or in a park where animals are kept. It was rather very selfish and thoughtless of her to say the least. One needs to make sure that you keep your initial distance while you first assess the situation. Then, as you approach, you show some common respect and courtesy to those visitors, tourists, or guest who might be busy taking the opportunity to shoot some photographs of whatever animals. Anyway, that is how we do it.

General Overview
These large, dark brown kites glide and soar magnificently on their long, angled wings, and you will see them frequently over highways, searching for animals killed on the road. If a dead animal is small enough, the kite will simply pluck it from the surface of the road and fly off with it, but larger carcasses require the kite to land and feed on the road surface, where it runs the risk of being struck by a passing vehicle.

They have a rusty brown plumage, a pale band across the upper wing, yellow bill and legs. It is a small raptor that can be distinguished from other small raptors by the distinctive forked tail. This is twisted in flight from the horizontal to the almost vertical as it steers and manoeuvres through the air, so that it can swoop down and pick up prey even between moving motor vehicles. The immature bird is darker and has a black bill. Size 51-60cm, wingspan 133-180cm.

Feeding Habits
Other to the dead animals they get on the roads, kites catch their own live prey in the form of insects, small vertebrates and even snails.

Breeding Habitat and Nesting Habits
After rain in the semi-arid western parts of southern Africa, black kites gather in flocks of hundreds, forming great, funnel-shaped pillars that soars the sky. Yellow-billed kites are less gregarious, being usually found single or in pairs.

The kite's nest consists of a 50-80cm-diameter platform of sticks in a tree, lined with grass, dung and rags. The female lays two or three white eggs which both parents incubate for 35 days. The chicks stay in the nest for up to 45 days and the female feeds them food brought by the male. Adults at the nest are extremely shy, but quite vocal, giving a quavering quilllerrr cry that betrays their presence immediately. They are mainly found in woodlands, human settlements and semi-arid savannah.

Names of this avian species in other languages
Afrikaans ... Geelbekwou
Setswana … Mmankgodi
Dutch ... Geelsnavelwouw

Taken from: Animals of the Kruger Park and Lowveld - Heritage Publishing.

I hope you enjoy looking at this photo as much as I took pleasure in taking it.

boreocypriensis, rousettus, Luis52, ramthakur, saeedabbasi, Hormon_Manyer, siggi, roges, PeterZ, matatur, horias, Heaven, maurydv, xTauruSx, Mamagolo2, anemone, Dis. Ac., jeanpaul, CeltickRanger, zulfu, tuslaw, meyerd, nglen, SUBHENDU_BAGCHI, ubc64, Alex99, Jamesp, caspian, jaycee, Argus has marked this note useful
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Critiques [Translate]

Hi Anna,

An expertly taken capture of a magnificent raptore with its poor prey in a majestic pose with impeccable details and clarity!
Great DOF/POV and fine composition too.
TFS and have a nice night!


Hello Anna
As you know, kites and some other birds, e.g. vultures very important ecologically. they clear dead animals. this case is pity for cute squirrel, but good food for kite.
you nicely captured this pretty kite when feeding time on road. you catched greatly interesting looking on its face. So, eyes contact great. sharp focus, lighting and composition also great. I also enjoy to see it and your new posts. thanks for sharing and thanks also for your e-mail message.
best regards and have a good night

  • Great 
  • Luis52 Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Note Writer [C: 1175 W: 8 N: 4240] (15809)
  • [2010-03-09 15:40]

Hola Anna.
After all you did a great job here, and I imagine how bad You felt after this beautiful species of eagle flew with his prey by the lady's fault.
Great note written Anna.

Hello Anna,
Disregarding the normal distortion of the zoom of your compact Sony, I must say that this picture is very good! excellent handling of the camera and a dramatic photo! good job!

Despite long distance, your image of this Kite is very good, Anna. It suggests a rock-steady hand and correct judgement about the existing conditions. The rude lady in your story is representative of a category of people found eveywhere in this world. I have quite a few experiences of such situations myself.
Thanks for sharing yet another class image from your visit to Kruger Park.

Hi Anna ,

Again another great work from you.
Sad shot from the Nature.
It has excellent details and wonderful colours.
Very well captured

Kind regards and best wishes

Hi Anna,

The photo itself is great. Beautiful pose, fantastic sunny colors, pleasing composition taken from a nice POV. Everything's wonderful - except for the pic seems oversharpened and the background noise even kills my eardrums. :( Very probably it was caused by the distance and digital zoom / re-sizing.

Interesting and personal note as always. Once, in a "Murphy's Laws" book I read this saying: "The real hell is the other people on Earth". I can't but agree. Some people should learn a lot more about social behaviour.

Have a nice day, friendly regards, László

  • Great 
  • siggi Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 3097 W: 109 N: 12399] (52850)
  • [2010-03-09 22:41]

Hello Anna,
Great shot with wonderful colours and very good details.Great moment that you have captured.Best regards Siggi

  • Great 
  • roges Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Note Writer [C: 957 W: 0 N: 1329] (6264)
  • [2010-03-10 2:23]

Hi Anna,
Today you have a fabulous picture for us.
Exceptional detail and color with a superb presentation, and a well chosen POV.
Many regards and have a wonderful day,

  • Great 
  • foozi Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Note Writer [C: 2791 W: 0 N: 6696] (25839)
  • [2010-03-10 3:29]

Hi Anna,
wow...this is a lively shot presenting nature at its cycle. Eaten and eating...well moment shown in great details. I like the shiny eye of the kite and the colour contrast is so beautiful.


  • Great 
  • PeterZ Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 5137 W: 166 N: 13121] (49139)
  • [2010-03-10 7:51]

Hallo Anna,
Prachtige foto van deze Geelsnavelwouw.
Not in ideal circumstances, I read, but evenso very beautiful. Great sharpness, details and an attractive composition. Nice natural colours. Great pose.

A beautiful Kite capture with the "captured" prey greatly in evidence Anna, the simple, almost monochromatic surroundings made the scene all the more alluring. Thank you indeed for sharing this unique image with us, MF.

  • Great 
  • horias Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 837 W: 58 N: 2084] (11033)
  • [2010-03-10 11:30]

Hi Anna
Lovely capture this Yellow-billed Kite !
Wonderful sharp details and colors.
And is a great predator too!
We can see that!

  • Great 
  • Heaven Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 996 W: 123 N: 2341] (7912)
  • [2010-03-10 12:47]

Hi Anna!

It's so interesting and fascinating to read your narrative notes. Sometimes people act so egoistic. This remembered me when we visited the Delicate Arch in the USA. We waited up there in the heat to take the perfect sunset picture. At the very best moment, a couple went down in front of the Arch to take pictures. We were all shouting and waving and a man hurried to them and pulled them away. We had two minutes left for the pictures...

Your notes also explain why the quality of the picture is not perfect. But this is well compensated by the content and the story you tell us. The bird is magnificent, and I especially like its pose and the power that emanates from it. Both, the picture and your notes, make this post an outstanding one.

Kind regards


Hello Anna,
a fantastic capture of the Yellow-billed Kite taken with very good sharpness and great timing, beautiful natural colours, a very pleasant composition with a marvellous posture of this splendid bird of prey.
Best regards

Hello Anna, Wonderful shot of this very beautiful raptor.
FS and regards,

Ciao Anna, great capture of superb raptor with its prey, splendid sharpness and great details, wonderful light and colors, very well done, ciao Silvio

  • Great 
  • manyee Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 3089 W: 230 N: 6774] (23770)
  • [2010-03-11 17:52]

Very sharp shot, Anna.
I like the look on his face... "Mine, all mine!"
The little spot of blood on his yellow beak adds to the drama. : )
I read your story... Some people can be so inconsiderate.
I am glad you got a chance to catch this unusual kite anyway.
TFS. : )

hello Anna,
very good moment and scene, nice photo output!
"keep photographing!" TFS

Stunning capture Anna, excellent color. I like the white on the edge of the feathers. Good eye contact. Sorry for the squirrel though but that's just nature. Very well done and TFS.

Hi Anna.
Great cation photo of this raptor with its prey.
Light, details and composition are splendid.
Best regards

Hi Anna,

another very good shot from an bird with prey.
Good pov, details and fine colours.


Bonjour Anna
C'est une excellente photo de cet oiseau de proie
tout fier de sa chasse, excellent POV
et Bon cadrage , TFS

Merci et bravo...JP

hello Anna

excellent photo of the Yellow-billed Kite with huis captured prey,
fine POV and the way it is framed, fine fopcus sharpness and details,
beautiful light coming to the bird, excellent eye-contact, TFS


Bonito trabajo Anne, y acompañado de una interesante explicación jeje,. Se perdió la oportunidad de captar alguna toma mejor, pero aún así nos dejas un excelente testimonio de lo ocurrido y desde luego documento.
Buena semana y hasta pronto:

Josep Ignasi.

  • Great 
  • zulfu Gold Star Critiquer [C: 685 W: 0 N: 2] (43)
  • [2010-03-14 15:03]

Hello Anna, superb shot of this kite from nice POV with excellent composition, details and colours.
TFS and G's,

  • Great 
  • tuslaw Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 2754 W: 282 N: 4931] (19883)
  • [2010-03-14 18:54]

Hello Anna,
I can definitely sense the frustration you and Loot felt at the missed oportunity of capturing even closer shots of this rare event. That being said, you still ended up with an acceptable photo showing one of natures predators and it's prey.
You still have given us a good look at this particular raptor and it's beautifully marked plumage. I like the way (he or she) is giving you the look as if to say, "Hey.. what's the big deal... can't a guy eat in peace?" TFS.

Hi Anna,

first thanks for your continued interest in my gallery. I don't make it a point but each time I choose to post a picture with a purple flower i have to think of you! That is what you do to men :-)

Its really a chance to have a nice Kite with its prey in front of the camera, close enough for a decent picture, and you took it. Never mind the loathsome lady. The incident explains that the sharpness of the picture is not top. But how the bird looks at you, just great!
best regards

  • Great 
  • nglen Gold Star Critiquer/Silver Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 2883 W: 30 N: 9683] (36145)
  • [2010-03-15 12:21]

Hi Anna. What a beautiful looking bird so bold looking . Your use of the light has given a warm glow to the well detailed feathers . Well taken TFS.

Hi Anna,
brilliant capture of this yellow billed kite. Great light and fine depth. High sharpness. A nice composition. Tfs.
Have a nice day.

  • Great 
  • ubc64 Gold Star Critiquer/Silver Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 76 W: 21 N: 208] (789)
  • [2010-03-15 23:42]

Hi Anna,

Great photo of a very powerful looking bird! It's interesting that the kite's beak and talons are the same shade of yellow. It's too bad that you and the others didn't get a chance to take more photos, but the one you posted seems quite good. I like the way that the kite is looking around to make sure that all is well before it decided what to do next. The incident reminds me of the time that a large bird carried away a dead rabbit that had been hit on the road in front of our former home in Connecticut. It looked somewhat like a turkey, but we found out later that it was actually a Turkey Vulture. TFS.


  • Great 
  • Alex99 Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 4072 W: 133 N: 7096] (23735)
  • [2010-03-16 12:34]

Hi Anna.
It is dramatic scene from our human life and its impact on a wild nature. A bit sad. However, captured scene is very impressive as well as top quality of the image. I like wonderful vivid colours of the shot and bright sunlight. Sharpness of all scene is great too. Note, as usual. Cannot be more detailed. Well done and best wishes.

  • Great 
  • Jamesp Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Note Writer [C: 1369 W: 9 N: 6334] (18906)
  • [2010-03-17 0:17]

Hi Anna

Hopw you are ok? We have been away for a few days in Cyprus - we got back to find the first daffodil in flower in our garden - about a month late!

Great pose and wonderful eye contact.

Best wishes


Hi Anna,
perfect time,
nice species.

Hi Anna
Excellent capture, an expertly taken capture, very nice shot, well composed.
Well done.

Ciao Anna. Magnificent superb dramatic and interesting capture to show Nature's rules. Good light and natura lcolours.


Hello Anna,

Very beautiful scene with a successful hunt was a square.
To encounter such a great chance to witness.
Shooting technique and timing with a square of very successful.
birds of prey species and this type of interest I have heard a very rare species.
I'm sorry, but this rule of nature, though for squirrels and predator makes the task.
Thanks for sharing.

Best Regards,

  • Great 
  • jaycee Gold Star Critiquer/Silver Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 2454 W: 10 N: 8044] (25460)
  • [2010-03-23 16:26]

Hi Anna,

You must have charmed this Kite into looking at the camera when the squirrel was at his feet. I love the way he is looking at you - the squirrel is mine and you stay away from it! A really excellent shot with marvelous details of his face and feather. Wonderful colors and shadings of his feathers and the yellow beak and legs are superb. Poor little squirrel!


  • Great 
  • Argus Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 5038 W: 260 N: 15594] (50626)
  • [2010-03-29 5:26]

Hello Anna,
Nice that you could take such a fine shot of the Yellow-billed Kite (a subspecies of our European red Kite) before the selfish behaviour of the lady scared it off. The POV, pose with its prey, colours, contrast with the carpark BG are excellent and its features are well seen.
Thanks and best wishes,

A great photo! I love the sharp eye and detail in the feathers. What also makes this photo great is that there is some action taking place. A very slight negative is that the background is tar and not on gravel or in the bush, but then again, you can't have everything!
Well done

Hi Anna,
I had meant to do more travelling while in Thailand, hence the budget factor put an end to that idea,however it was a great trip.
Some people just have no consideration, at least you managed to get the shot, and an excellent one at that.Pinsharp image, good exposure and nice pose.Nicely captured and TFS.
PS: when you going to the "hide" again.

Excelent capture of this eagle.Good moment.Is Perfect

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