Family Hawks, Eagles (Accipitridae)

Least Concern

Brahminy Kite (Haliastur indus)


French: Milan sacré German: Brahminenweih Spanish: Milano brahmán

Falco Indus


, 1783,

Pondicherry, India


Races girrenera and flavirostris may intergrade in Bismarck Archipelago#R. Four subspecies recognized.

Subspecies and Distribution
  • H. i. indus (Boddaert, 1783) – Pakistan, India and Sri Lanka through SE Asia to S China.
  • H. i. intermedius Blyth, 1865 – Malay Peninsula, Philippines, Greater and Lesser Sundas, Sulawesi and related small islands, and Sula Is.
  • H. i. girrenera (Vieillot, 1822) – Moluccas, New Guinea, Bismarck Archipelago and N & E Australia.
  • H. i. flavirostris Condon & Amadon, 1954 – Feni Is and nearby Green Is (off SE New Ireland), and Solomon Is.
  • Descriptive notes

    44–52 cm; male 409–650 g, female 434–700 g; wingspan 110–125 cm. Perched adult unmistakable, with chestnut back, wings and belly and white head, neck... read more


    Mostly silent outside nesting season. Commonest call among pair members a plaintive, descending mew... read more


    Coasts, estuaries, rivers, lakes, swamps, marshes, reservoirs, rice fields and urban areas; in... read more

    Food and feeding

    Variety of small animals and carrion, including mammals, birds, reptiles, amphibians, fish, arthropods, crustaceans, shellfish, cuttlefish... read more


    Dry season in tropics, late winter and spring in subtropics. Solitary. Platform of sticks and other flotsam 40–60 cm wide, up to 20... read more


    Generally sedentary, although some breeders in S China may winter in SE Asia. Mostly resident in... read more

    Status and conservation

    Not globally threatened (Least Concern). CITES II. Common to abundant and widespread in some tropical areas, where often benefits from human activity. Clear-cutting of... read more

    Recommended citation

    Debus, S., Marks, J.S. & Kirwan, G.M. (2019). Brahminy Kite (Haliastur indus). In: del Hoyo, J., Elliott, A., Sargatal, J., Christie, D.A. & de Juana, E. (eds.). Handbook of the Birds of the World Alive. Lynx Edicions, Barcelona. (retrieved from on 22 May 2019).