The red kite (Milvus milvus) belongs to the class of birds. It is a kite bird that is found in different parts of Europe (including the United Kingdom), northwest Africa, and milder parts of northern Iran. Red kites are found living in woodlands, valleys, and wetland edges in areas ranging 2,600 ft (800 m).
They are often seen living with their roost of kites and sometimes on their own. They are not often seen mingling with other birds and animals, because this red kite bird is a bird of prey. It preys upon dead and decaying animals and reptiles and they are often seen feeding upon crows, dead animals, chicks, beetles, small mammals, and earthworms. These birds of prey can be seen all year round and are most active during the day.
Red kites are birds with angled, reddish-black wings and a dark black, long, forked tail with reddish-brown markings. Red kite birds' primary flight feathers contrast with the black color of their tail and a few red kites also have white primary flight feathers. They also have white patches underneath their breast and belly and they have a very long body. They have a wingspan of about 5 ft (150 cm). A red kite weighs around 2.2-2.6 lb (1-1.2 kg) and is 23-25 in (58-64 cm) tall. The average lifespan of red kites is 24 to 26 years. They lay their eggs in early April and the average clutch size is around one to three eggs. During breeding, both members of the breeding pairs, males and females, take part in the building of the nest, incubation, and taking care of the chicks.
The current estimated population of the red kite bird is estimated at between 11,000 and 13,000 breeding pairs. However, there has been a decline in the population of red kites globally and they have been listed as a Nearly Threatened species of kites by the International Union for Conservation of Nature ( IUCN ) in their red list. Here are some interesting facts on these elegant birds. If you like these, then do read our guides to the secretary bird and chinstrap penguin too.
What do they prey on?
Crows, dead animals, chicks, beetles, small mammals, and earthworms
What do they eat?
Average litter size?
How much do they weigh?
2.2-2.6 lb (1-1.2 kg)
How long are they?
23-25 in (58-64 cm)
How tall are they?
24-28 in (60-70 cm)
What do they look like?
What are their main threats?
The northern goshawk, red foxes, and humans
What is their conservation status?
Where you'll find them
Woodlands, valleys, and wetland edges
Europe, northwest Africa, northern Iran, England, and Scotland
Red Kite Interesting Facts
What type of animal is a red kite?
Red kites are small birds of prey, similar to eagles, buzzards, and harriers.
What class of animal does a red kite belong to?
The red kite belongs to the class of birds. It is a kite bird that is commonly found in different parts of England and Scotland.
How many red kites are there in the world?
The current estimated kite population is between 11,000 and 13,000 breeding pairs. There has been a decline in the population of red kites in the world and they have been listed as a Nearly Threatened species of kites by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) in their red list.
Where does a red kite live?
Red kites are found living in woodlands, valleys, and wetland edges ranging up to 2,600 ft (800 m) in size. In the United Kingdom, they were once found inhabiting only Wales, but the Welsh population of these red kites is now returning back slowly to different parts of the United Kingdom, including south and west England. It is no longer rare to see a red kite in the United Kingdom and they are also often spotted in different regions of central Europe.
What is a red kite's habitat?
Red kite birds are currently seen breeding in the western Palearctic regions of Europe and also in northwestern parts of Africa. However, this bird used to be most common in northern Iran. Red kites are found living in woodlands, valleys, and wetland edges.
Who do red kites live with?
They are often seen living with their roost of kites and are sometimes seen on their own. They are not often seen mingling with other birds and animals, because they are birds of prey. They are often seen feeding upon crows, dead animals, chicks, beetles, small mammals, and earthworms. These birds of prey can be seen all year round and are most active during the day.
How long does a red kite live?
The average lifespan of red kites is 24 to 26 years.
How do they reproduce?
Red kites breed just once every year and can be found in breeding pairs. Usually, red kites first breed when they are two years old, but sometimes they can also breed when they are just a year old. They are monogamous when it comes to pairing and mating and they lay their eggs in early April. The average clutch size of a red kite bird is around one to three eggs. Nest building usually begins in March and both genders work towards nest building, incubation, and taking care of the chicks. The male and female birds take turns to incubate their eggs and the male kite helps the female kite by providing food and water while she takes care of the chicks.
What is their conservation status?
According to the IUCN, the conservation status of a red kite bird is Nearly Threatened. This means that their population is decreasing and they are under the threat of becoming extinct or vulnerable. The red kite population has decreased a lot in the past few years. The current kite population is estimated at between 11,000 and 13,000 breeding pairs. It is now considered to be a protected species and has been placed under various different protection programs.
Red Kite Fun Facts
What do red kites look like?
Red kites are birds with angled, reddish-black wing tips and dark black, long forked tails. Their long wings held to form a length of 5 feet. They also have white patches underneath their breast and belly. They have a very long body with a deeply forked tail which makes them unique.
How cute are they?
Whether they are cute or not is subjective, but this is certainly an elegant bird and many people do find these birds both elegant and cute.
How do they communicate?
A Milvus red kite uses its sight to communicate with other kites. They also use simple sounds of communication like barks, grunts, and hisses. Their mating call is a thin piping sound that has a good range.
How big is a red kite?
A red kite in flight is five times bigger than a rat and is also bigger than a buzzard. They are 23-25 in (58-64 cm) tall and weigh about 2.2-2.6 lb (1-1.2 kg).
How high can a red kite fly?
A red kite can fly to a height of 2,600 ft (800 m).
How much does a red kite weigh?
A red kite weighs around 2.2-2.6 lb (1-1.2 kg).
What are their male and female names of the species?
The male kite red and female kite red are both known by the same name, they don't have different names.
What would you call a baby red kite?
A baby red kite is called a juvenile or a chick.
What do they eat?
Red kites are birds of prey and they feed upon dead animals and birds. They are often seen scavenging upon crows, dead animals, chicks, beetles, small mammals, and earthworms.
Are they loud?
Red kites are not overly loud, but they do make a deafening, screeching noise as they soar through the skies.
Would they make a good pet?
No, they are not a good pet because they are adapted to live in an open environment in the woodlands, valleys, and wetland edges of Europe, the United Kingdom (including Wales, England, and Scotland), northwest Africa, and northern Iran.
Did you know...
Red kites are also sometimes known as game birds.
When mother kites sense danger they signal this to their chicks, who start play dead until the enemy leaves them also.
Red kites are famous for their deeply forked tail. This long forked tail twisting as it changes direction is a unique feature of red kites. Bird watchers are known to look out for this impressive feature.
Whilst red kites are birds of prey, most of the prey they catch is already dead. They very rarely catch and kill live prey.
Red kites are associated with change, so if you see one some people believe that this is a sign that a change will be coming into your life.
What is a red kite's wingspan?
They have a wingspan of about 5 ft (150 cm).
Why is the red kite a success story?
In the '80s red kites were one of three globally threatened species in the United Kingdom. These birds of prey were part of a reintroduction program in the year 1989 and as a result of this they were able to establish a self-sustaining environment.
Here at Kidadl, we have carefully created lots of interesting family-friendly animal facts for everyone to discover! Learn more about some other birds including the shoebill, or the laughing kookaburra.
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