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Red Kite
Similar Birds:
 Black Kite
 Square-tailed Kite
 Snail Kite
 Slender-billed Kite
 Double-toothed Kite
 Rufous-thighed Kite
 Whistling Kite
 Brahminy Kite

Red Kite
Photographer: Thomas Kraft

Red Kite
Photographer: Hans Hillewaert

Red Kite
Photographer: Hansueli Krapf

Latin Name Milvus milvus
Conservation Status Near Threatened
Location Europe, W Asia, N Africa, Canary & Cape Verde Islands
Colour Brown
Length 61 - 66 cms (24 - 26 inches)
Wingspan 175 - 195 cm (69 - 77 inches)
Weight 750 - 1,000 g (27 - 36 oz)
Life Expectancy Up to 26 Yrs (in Captivity)

Main Characteristics

Red Kites are the largest species of kite They have a body length between 61 and 66 cms (24 - 77 inches), a wingspan between 175 and 195 cms (69 - 77 inches) and they weigh between 750 and 1,000 g (27 - 36 oz).

They are brown in colour with a pale head. They have long wings and a long, forked tail. They are agile fliers and they fly with their wings partly bent and use their tail as a rudder.


Red Kites have a wide habitat tolerance, with their only requirement being large, mature trees in which to build nests. They can be found in Europe, west Asia, north Africa, the Canary and Cape Verde Islands.


Red Kites mainly feed on small mammals, young birds and carrion.


Red Kites are monogamous and form pairs for life. They breed once a year and they lay 1 - 3 eggs in a nest built in a tree. After an incubation period of 31 - 35 days the eggs hatch and the chicks fledge at 7 - 9 weeks old.

The youngsters will gain their adult plumage at a year old and they become sexually mature at 3 years of age.


The only known natural predator of the Red Kite is the northern goshawk, but they are also threatened by human activity. Eggs and nestlings are vulnerable to nest predators such as red foxes.


There are two subspecies of the Red Kite:

Milvus milvus fasciicauda
Milvus milvus milvus

Interesting Facts

Two centuries ago Red Kites were a common scavenger in European towns and cities, but improved refuse disposal has made them much less common.

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