Birds of Prey Kingdom at the Manila Ocean Park

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Manila Ocean Park has added a new attraction aside from its marine life exhibits and shows. They called it the Birds of Prey Kingdom, and from the name itself, it’s obviously something related to our flying friends.

Birds of Prey are formidable avian predators that use their powerful talons, hooked beaks, and acute eyesight to hunt and feed on a variety of prey including fish, small mammals, reptiles, and carrion. They are divided into two orders: Falconiformes are diurnal meaning they hunt during the day. Examples of this include the eagles, hawks, kites, falcons, ospreys, and vultures; while the order Strigiformes are nocturnal meaning they hunt during the night, also known as the owls. Diurnal birds of prey are also known as raptors, derived from the Latin word “rapere”, meaning to seize or take by force.Manila Ocean Park’s newest attraction called the Birds of Prey Kingdom features one of the most stunning coastal raptors in the country, the Brahminy Kites (Haliastur indus) locally known as Lawin in Tagalog and Banog in the Visayas region.

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In the Philippines, Brahminy Kites can be seen in Bohol, Mindoro, Palawan, Cebu, Marinduque, Guimaras, Leyte, Lubang, Sarangani, Masbate, Tawi-Tawi, among others.   (Source: Kennedy R. S. et al. 2000. A Guide to the Birds of the Philippines)The Brahminy Kite has a pure white head and chest contrasting with chestnut back, wings, tail and black primary feathers. The legs are short and not feathered, the eye is dark and the lemon   yellow colored bill is strongly hooked. They are found in the coastal regions across Southeast Asia.The Brahminy Kite feeds on carrion (dead animals), insects, reptiles, amphibians, crustaceans and fish. It swoops low over water, the ground or tree tops and snatches live prey or carrion from the surface. It also steals from fish-hunting birds, snatching prey in flight.Brahminy Kites can be found in India, Pakistan, China, Bangladesh and Southeast Asia where it is widespread and resident on coastal regions and along rivers. In Thailand, it can be found in every region.The Brahminy Kite is a bird of the coast, particularly mangrove swamps. It lives on the plain near rice fields, seashore and lowland forest. It flies alone or in pairs or in a small group.

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Breeding season occurs in the dry season in tropics, and late winter and spring in subtropical range. Brahminy Kite usually nests in mangroves, in tall emergent trees. It nests in swampy areas in order to be secure from terrestrial predators.

The Brahminy Kite is a solitary nester. The nest is built in living trees near water, often mangrove trees. The nest is large, made from sticks, seaweed or driftwood and lined with a variety of materials such as bones, seaweed and paper. The Brahminy Kite lays 2 to 4 eggs each time. Both parents incubate the eggs and the young are fed bill to bill with small pieces of food.

The Brahminy Kite utters mewing calls “keeyew” usually while soaring but usually it is silent.

It gives some bleating lamb “pee-ah-ah” sounds.

             

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Did you know?

  1. Brahminy Kites have weak feet so, although they have long, sharp curved claws, they cannot take large prey. However, they are expert at snatching prey in flight.
  2. Some of the local names of Brahminy Kites include Lawin – Tagalog; Kali – Ilocano; Dapay – Hiligaynon and Banog – Bisaya
  3. Brahminy Kites are non-migratory birds.
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WILDLIFE LOAN AGREEMENT
Manila Ocean Park has entered into partnership with The Protected Areas and Wildlife Bureau (PAWB) of the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) through the loan of Brahminy Kites (Haliastur indus) species for public education, appreciation and other conservation- oriented purposes.PAWB has established a Wildlife Rescue Center (WRC) as a temporary facility and rehabilitation center for confiscated, abandoned and donated wildlife, as living laboratory and training ground for wildlife enthusiasts on handling, care and management of wildlife in captivity.Manila Ocean Park, a private facility is committed to promoting research, wildlife species conservation and to facilitate better species and habitat management. It also has the financial and technical capability to provide for the welfare, safety and security of the loaned animals.*Credits to Manila Ocean Park
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