Malaysian Birds - Kite


Some clarification on the use of certain terms.

 Raptors or raptorial birds, quote - "warm-blooded egg-laying vertebrates characterized by feathers and forelimbs modified as wings."

In another way of addressing the same subject, Accipiter are hawks that visit deeply wooded areas. The birds generally has short rounded wings and long rudder like tails, to assist them in maneuver between foliages.

For the Malaysian Bird list, I have grouped all these Accipiters as one under this family heading. The birds included  are:-


  1. Black-winged Kite  
  2. Black Kite


  3. Brahminy Kite  


Noting the members of this large group of Accipiters, for the 3 Kites that we get to see in Malaysia, I have put up a dedicated page to focus on this special birds

The Kite has the looks of a small hawks. It is lightly built with a small head, long narrow wings, and a forked tail. The bird has a reputation for hovering in the sky, yes the one you saw before.

So for coining of the word "Kite". Like all hawks, the kite too has a reputation as a predator. Rumored that in the 16th century, a person who preys on others in any way has been called a kite.

The same name then applied in the 17th century to a toy whose use seemed to imitate or suggest that behavior. The toy too has a light frame covered usually with paper or cloth, provided with a balancing tail, and designed to be flown in the air at the end of a long string. The toy was called "kite", just like the hovering bird of prey. Now you know that the "play thing" is named after the bird.

In flight, the bird is known for its hypnotic hovering. It slowly flaps its long wings and then glides on and on with its wings angled back. This page is about Kites. IN Malaysia we could easily see these 3 species.

The Black Kite is the only bird within this group that is hardly seen, whereas the other two Kites are fairly common. Most locals with little interest in birds would not know of the classifications and background. They won't find them interesting as they are always so high up in the sky or Casuarinas when perched. I find that the Kites are good subjects to photograph as each of them has that distinctive looks particularly in flight.


 Return to Malaysian Birds Page! Or go back to  Khong Tuck Khoon page