You may have watched the Bird Show before and seen Stellar, the Black Kite, or Dixie, the Whistling Kite, but hopefully you’ll soon be able to see our newest addition, Zephyr, the Brahminy Kite. Zephyr has only been with us less than a month, so is a long while off debuting in the show. Fingers crossed it happens fast!
Kites are dynamic birds that can catch and eat their prey in mid-air; they don’t have to come to the ground, unless they choose. Our goal is to fly Zephyr with Stellar as a duo, as it is not uncommon for these birds to be found in large groups, and our team would love to be able to share this. Brahminy Kites are found across northern Australia and parts of Asia, and are great recyclers, feeding not only on fresh fish and invertebrates, but carrion too - essentially, dead stuff.
Training, with a keeper working on gaining Zephyr’s trust, is a gradual process and depends on how confident the bird is, as to how fast it happens. Because he’s inexperienced we haven’t been able to take any photos, but the photo posted is what Zephyr will start to look like within the next year. This photo was actually taken by a friend in Cambodia, Phillip Ghamraoui. They start out browner in colour, but as they grow up and moult, the brown feathers are replaced by vibrant red and white ones. He’d be the perfect mascot if you were a Manly Sea Eagles fan!
Zephyr came to live at Taronga from Currumbin Sanctuary in Queensland. We assume he hatched out around October last year, before he was found on the ground, weak and fluffed at Cabarita Beach. He was rehabilitated with some other Brahminy Kite juveniles, but unfortunately wasn’t deemed fit enough to return to the wild. This is why he now lives at Taronga Zoo, as without us, he wouldn’t survive. It also makes him an excellent ambassador for his wild cousins.
Not all birds that come to Bird Show team end up staring in the show; some just don’t have the confidence for it. This just means they are given another role within the regional zoo community. A while ago we introduced you to Barry, the Pacific Baza. Unfortunately he won’t make the show but luckily is being re-homed. We very much hope Zephyr works out and will aim to keep you updated. To see a Brahminy dive and spiral back up is truly awe-inspiring. Again, fingers crossed!
Bird Show Trainer, Brendan