This magnificently graceful bird of prey is unmistakable with its reddish-brown body, angled wings, and deeply forked tail. It was saved from national extinction by one of the world’s longest-running protection programmes. It has now been successfully re-introduced to England and Scotland. Found Central Wales, central England – especially the Chilterns, central Scotland – at Argaty and along the Galloway.
- Reddish brown in colour. Red, long forked tail. Prominent white patches on the under-wings, pale head.
- 58 to 64cms
- yellow, hooked.
- yellow, medium length.
- forests, woods and field close by them.
- perches openly, takes off and lands on vegetation and on the ground.
- usually solitary, but can be found hovering or gathering in large numbers around a food source.
- soars, glides, strong and powerful.
- repeated he-he-heea
Breeding & Feeding
- Each nesting territory can contain up to five alternative nest sites. Both birds build the nest on a main fork or a limb high in a tree, 12-20m above the ground. It is constructed of dead twigs and lined with grass and sheep’s wool.
- The female lays a clutch of 1-3 (occasionally 4) eggs at 3-day intervals in April.
- Incubation Period
- the female incubates mainly alone for 31-32 days per egg (38 days for a clutch of 3)
- 48-50 days, sometimes not until 60-70 days.
- Mainly carrion and worms, but opportunistic and will occasionally take small mammals.
- UK Breeding Pairs
- 1,800 in Britain about 7% of the worlds population.