These mating kites were caught in the act when a male swooped in from nowhere and copulated with his significant other. This special moment was captured in the Kgalagadi Transfrontier Park.
Courting Black-shouldered kites are seen readily in single and mutual, high-circling flights. Seeing them mating, however, is far less common! They are highly vocal when courting and the male will feed the female in flight. Copulation then takes place close to the nest.
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Black-shouldered kites hunt from a vantage point or by hovering when habitats are more open. They feed primarily on rodents but, just like many other raptors, enjoy small reptiles, birds, and insects.
Although mate fidelity is difficult to assess, there is probably none because of nomadic movements. Females may breed with more than 1 male in a season, and males are selected based on the quality of territory. Both will collect materials for the nest, but often the female takes on more responsibility for nest construction.
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62-Year-old dentist and wildlife enthusiast Cornell Nortier, and his wife, were fortunate to witness this rare moment and shared the story with LatestSightings.com:
“My wife and I stopped at Dalkeith loop to take a photo of a Black-shouldered kite, which was perfectly positioned against the blue sky. Whilst I was busy photographing this beauty, a male landed on her and they started mating! I was able to capture a few spectacular action shots! After a while, he just flew away, but I trust he will return for his fatherly duties and responsibilities!”
“I was just lucky to be at the right place at the right time!“
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“In 15 years of visiting the Kgalagadi, this is the first time that I have seen this, and consider myself lucky to get photos of the action! It was a special sighting for me!”
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