This is a superb bird of prey of a generally chestnut colour with a long forked tail. They are very light on their wings and soar and hover gracefully at will. They will feed on live prey and pairs may specialise on a particular prey item - like Magpies or Black-headed Gulls - to provision the nest. However for much of the time they are carrion eaters.
There are populations in Central Europe and Spain with a few in Sweden and relicts in Wales. Here one (and only one) female was breeding about 50 years ago but the population has grown steadily to more than 100 pairs. Re- introductions of birds from Sweden to Scotland and from Spain to England are working very well. This is a bird that should be all over Britain as it was 300 years ago. It was even a city scavenger then - would that it becomes so again.
A medium to large mainly European bird of prey.
The following Bird On! picture is available:
Red Kite (35mm Colour Slide by Roger Tidman)
Length 630 mm Closed wing 500 mm Weight 1100 gms
A Bird On! Sketch by Chris Mead
Copyright © 1996 by Jacobi Jayne & Company and Chris Mead