Red Kite


Red Kite

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.


Identification

Adult
Reddish brown in colour. Red, long forked tail. Prominent white patches on the under-wings, pale head.
Size
58 to 64cms
Bill
yellow, hooked.
Legs
yellow, medium length.
Habitat
forests, woods and field close by them.
Behaviour
perches openly, takes off and lands on vegetation and on the ground.
Flocking
usually solitary, but can be found hovering or gathering in large numbers around a food source.
Flight
soars, glides, strong and powerful.
Voice
repeated he-he-heea

Breeding & Feeding

Nest
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.
Eggs
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)
Fledgling
48-50 days, sometimes not until 60-70 days.
Broods
1
Food
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.