Red kite

Milvus milvus

The red kite is a medium-large bird of prey in the family Accipitridae, which also includes many other diurnal raptors such as eagles, buzzards, and harriers. The species is currently endemic to the Western Palearctic region in Europe and northwest Africa, though formerly also occurred just outside in northern Iran. It is resident in the milder parts of its range in western Europe and northwest Africa, but birds from northeastern and central Europe winter further south and west, reaching south to Turkey. Vagrants have reached north to Finland and south to Israel, Libya and Gambia.
Rode Wouw - Red Kite - Milvus milvus The Red Kite, a beautiful species of bird of prey. I've been fortunate enough to be able to travel through Scotland serveral times. During a stay in the Inverness area, some years ago, I was lucky to stumble upon this beautiful bird.  Bird of prey,Fall,Geotagged,Milvus milvus,Red Kite,Red kite,Scotland,United Kingdom

Appearance

Red kites are 60 to 70 cm long with a 175–179 cm wingspan; males weigh 800–1,200 g , and females 1,000–1,300 g . It is an elegant bird, soaring on long wings held at a dihedral, and long forked tail, twisting as it changes direction. The body, upper tail and wing coverts are rufous. The white primary flight feathers contrast with the black wing tips and dark secondaries. Apart from the weight difference, the sexes are similar, but juveniles have a buff breast and belly. Its call is a thin piping sound, similar to but less mewling than the common buzzard. There is a rare white leucistic form accounting for approximately 1% of hatchlings in the Welsh population but is at a disadvantage in the survival stakes.
Red Kite Gigrin Farm Geotagged,Milvus milvus,Red kite,Summer,United Kingdom

Distribution

Red kites inhabit broadleaf woodlands, valleys and wetland edges, to 800 metres . They are endemic to the western Palearctic, with the European population of 19,000–25,000 pairs encompassing 95% of its global breeding range. It breeds from Spain and Portugal east into central Europe and Ukraine, north to southern Sweden, Latvia and the UK, and south to southern Italy. There is a population in northern Morocco. Northern birds move south in winter, mostly staying in the west of the breeding range, but also to eastern Turkey, northern Tunisia and Algeria. The three largest populations declined between 1990 and 2000, and overall the species declined by almost 20% over the ten years. The main threats to red kites are poisoning, through illegal direct poisoning and indirect poisoning from pesticides, particularly in the wintering ranges in France and Spain, and changes in agricultural practices causing a reduction in food resources. Other threats include electrocution, hunting and trapping, deforestation, egg-collection and possibly competition with the generally more successful black kite ''M. migrans''.The following figures have been collated from various sources. They cover most of the countries in which red kites are believed to have bred.
Red Kite in a blizzard Captured in southern Sweden by @Henrik Just. Birds,Falconiformes,Kite,Milvus milvus,Red Kite,Sweden

Status

Red kites inhabit broadleaf woodlands, valleys and wetland edges, to 800 metres . They are endemic to the western Palearctic, with the European population of 19,000–25,000 pairs encompassing 95% of its global breeding range. It breeds from Spain and Portugal east into central Europe and Ukraine, north to southern Sweden, Latvia and the UK, and south to southern Italy. There is a population in northern Morocco. Northern birds move south in winter, mostly staying in the west of the breeding range, but also to eastern Turkey, northern Tunisia and Algeria. The three largest populations declined between 1990 and 2000, and overall the species declined by almost 20% over the ten years. The main threats to red kites are poisoning, through illegal direct poisoning and indirect poisoning from pesticides, particularly in the wintering ranges in France and Spain, and changes in agricultural practices causing a reduction in food resources. Other threats include electrocution, hunting and trapping, deforestation, egg-collection and possibly competition with the generally more successful black kite ''M. migrans''.
Red Kite - Theres food in that wolves cage mmm  France,Geotagged,Milvus milvus,Red Kite,Spring

Reproduction

Although adult red kites are sedentary birds, occupying their breeding home range all year in most cases, populations from Central and Northern Europe—although not the United Kingdom—may migrate south to areas such as Spain and the Iberian peninsula during colder winters. Each nesting territory can contain up to five nest sites. Both male and female birds build the nest on a main fork or a limb high in a tree, 12–20 m above the ground. The nest is made of twigs and lined with grass or other vegetation and sheep’s wool. At signs of danger, a mother will signal the young who will "play dead" when a predator is near.
Red Kite Taken near Harewood House - Leeds. There was a time almost 10 years ago where to see one of these in the wild was impossible around these parts. Thankfully after a breeding program was set up they seems to be doing really well now with many pairs of kites flying round. My drive to work takes me past an area that has around 15 flying around. A wonderful site. I'll have to go back when the weather is better and get some more pictures! Milvus milvus,Red Kite

Food

The red kite's diet consists mainly of small mammals such as mice, voles, shrews, young hares and rabbits. It feeds on a wide variety of carrion including sheep carcasses and dead game birds. Live birds are also taken and occasionally reptiles and amphibians. Earthworms form an important part of the diet, especially in spring.

As scavengers, red kites are particularly susceptible to poisoning. Illegal poison baits set for foxes or crows are indiscriminate and kill protected birds and other animals. There have also been a number of incidents of red kites and other raptors being targeted by wildlife criminals.

References:

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Taxonomy
KingdomAnimalia
DivisionChordata
ClassAves
OrderAccipitriformes
FamilyAccipitridae
GenusMilvus
SpeciesM. milvus