The Yellow-billed Kite

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When doing tours at HESC during the warmer times of the year, one regularly sees a small raptor acrobatically flying around. Characterised with a brown body and wings, it is their distinctive yellow feet and bill that grabs your attention. This is of course the majestic Yellow-billed Kite.Koos-4These acrobats are seen using their shallowly forked tail as a rudder to hover and expertly manoeuvre themselves. Their diet consists mainly of small prey such as insects, frogs, reptiles, small mammals and birds, but like most carnivores they would never miss the opportunity to scavenge and steal a meal if they can. Especially on feeding days they are found hovering around the enclosures to see where they can find a gap to swoop in and steal a piece of meat right from under the animals’ noses! Our well renowned vulture restaurant is a favourite hang-out for a pair of these birds. Most days the Yellow-billed Kites have quite a field day as the feeding frenzy is going on with the vultures fighting and meat flying everywhere.

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So the next time when you visit HESC, keep a lookout for one of these fascinating birds which might give you some great photo opportunities.

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