1788. Milvus migrans lineatus

(1788) Milvus migrans lineatus (Gray).
Milvus migrant lineatus, Fauna B. I., Birds, 2nd ed. vol. v, p. 124.
This fine Kite breeds within our limits throughout the Himalayas and in the hills of Southern Assam, Upper Burma and the Shan States. Outside our limits it occurs as far East as Japan.
Over the greater part of the Himalayas its breeding altitude is from 5,000 feet upwards, and it nests freely in Tibet at 12,000¬ 14,000 feet. In the Eastern Himalayas it breeds much, lower and is the form resident as low as 2,500 feet in the forests of the Barail Range and in Manipur.
The Large Indian Kite is the mountain and forest representative of govinda but, unlike that bird, is not a scavenger pure and simple. It will certainly haunt camps and, in some places, visits villages and their outskirts in search of food, hut its nesting home is in the forests well away from human habitations. It is only in the greater heights, where forests of big trees are rare, that the birds breed in the open in single trees. Ludlow says of this Kite in Gyantse (Ibis, 1928, p. 213) : “it arrived with unfailing punctuality during the last two days of February. Nest construction (often repairs to old nests) begins in April, and eggs are deposited in May. Generally a single egg is laid."
The nest is like that of the Common Pariah Kite hut the lining is generally, not exceptionally, of small twigs overlaid with green leaves. It is, as already noted, most often built at a considerable height from the ground in big trees, with dense foliage, standing in deep forest. In Kashmir, however, where Osmaston took many nests from Srinagar, 5,000 feet, upwards, they often nest in Chenar trees standing more or less in the open. Here also they place their nests very high up, and Osmaston gives the heights as from 70 to 100 feet.
In the Assam hills the birds breed from February to early April, in Kashmir, the Murree hills etc. in March and April, while in the higher ranges April and May are the two months in which most eggs are laid.
The moat usual clutch is two but three is not uncommon, while occasionally only one is laid, Ludlow says that one forms the normal clutch in Gyantse, but all the eggs obtained by Steen, Kennedy and others were in pairs.
The eggs only differ from those of the plains’ bird in averaging a good deal larger and go through all the same wide range of varia¬tion in character and colour of markings.
One hundred eggs average 57.3 x 45.2 mm. : maxima 61.4 x 45.1 and 61.0 x 47.5 mm. ; minima 58.8 x 47.0 and 54.1 x 41.0 mm.
I have shot the male off the eggs, so he undoubtedly helps in incubation, but I have not been able to ascertain whether both sexes help in making the nest. I have watched them at work, but the nest was high up in dense evergreen forest and it was impossible to follow their movements closely.

The Nidification Of Birds Of The Indian Empire
Baker, Edward Charles Stuart. The nidification of birds of the Indian Empire. Vol. 4. 1935.
Title in Book: 
1788. Milvus migrans lineatus
Spp Author: 
Book Author: 
Edward Charles Stuart Baker
Page No: 
Common name: 
Black Eared Kite Or Large Indian Kite
Milvus migrans lineatus
Vol. 4
Term name: 

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