Wednesday, 25 February 2015

Day 116 - Resplendent Red Kites

Red Kite (Milvus milvus) soaring over
Fairburn Ings
Hi all today's Day 116 and yesterday I didn't do much of a post so I thought I'd make up for it with a good post today. I thought today that I'd do an amazing bird of prey which I have been seeing more of recently. I love seeing them glide around the sky with their lovely red and white bodies. I am of course talking about the Red Kite.

Anyway, without further ado, here are the facts:
  • This is an Amber Status bird because it has had a 'historical decline' although there are 1,600 breeding pairs in the UK...
  • ...This is probably because they have been re-introduced to England and Scotland to save the species from national extinction.
  • Still staying on the subject of population,they have gone from Red Status in 2001 to an Amber Status. so that probably explains why I have been seeing more of them.
It was fabulous to watch
  • They were nearly extinct as they had a tough time in the 16th Century when there were laws which classed them as pests and called for them to be killed. Gamekeepers in the 18th Century also killed lots of them.
  • So these birds disappeared from England and Scotland and only just managed to hang on in Wales. Happily they have been successfully re-introduced as part of long running conservation programmes.
  • They are big birds and are 63cm long, with a wingspan of 185cm. Despite their size males only weigh 1kg and females a little more at 1.2kg
  • Their diet is mainly carrion (dead animal flesh) though they will take small prey as well. They apparently eat worms too! They are not very strong though so when feeding on big animals like sheep they have to wait until stronger birds like buzzards or ravens have opened up the carcass. There is a great video below of them hunting in slow motion as well as my video from a feeding station in Scotland.
  • Red Kites tend to pair for life when breeding though some cases of 'divorces' where the birds have found other partners are known.
  • The collective noun for Red Kites is a wake, quite fitting since they mainly eat dead stuff. See a Wake of Red Kites in my video below

  • The typical lifespan of a red Kite is four years but the oldest recorded one was (brace yourself!) 23 years 10 months old.
  • They were a very common bird in London once because Shakespeare mentioned them no less than 15 times in his writing.

This video by the Slo Mo guys is amazing.

Well I loved finding out about these amazing birds and if you want to know more try these links:

Hope you enjoyed, 


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