Red Kite

Milvus milvus


Once a very rare bird that could only be found in central Wales, the red kite has been successfully reintroduced to several areas of the UK and can now be seen in parts of Scotland, Yorkshire, the East Midlands and the Chilterns. A large, graceful bird of prey, the red kite can be seen soaring over woods and open areas - its distinctive shape and 'mewing' calls making it easy to identify. Red kites were routinely persecuted as hunters of game and domestic animals, but they are in fact scavengers, eating carrion and scraps, and taking only small prey like rabbits for themselves.

How to identify

The red kite is a large bird of prey with angled, red wings that are tipped with black and have white patches underneath in the 'hand'. It has a long, reddish-brown, forked tail.

Where to find it

Now found in several parts of the country including Wales, South East England, Yorkshire and the East Midlands.


When to find it

  • January
  • February
  • March
  • April
  • May
  • June
  • July
  • August
  • September
  • October
  • November
  • December

How can people help

Red Kites were severely persecuted in the past but, thanks to a successful reintroduction programme, are beginning to bounce back today. To ensure they have continued success, The Wildlife Trusts work closely with farmers and landowners to promote wildlife-friendly practices. We are working towards a 'Living Landscape': a network of habitats and wildlife corridors across town and country which are good for both wildlife and people. You can support this greener vision for the future by joining your local Wildlife Trust.

Species information

Common name
Red Kite
Latin name
Milvus milvus
Birds of prey
Length: 58-64cm Wingspan: 1.8m Weight: 1-1.2kg Average Lifespan: 4 years
Conservation status
Classified as Near Threatened on the IUCN Red List. Protected in the UK under the Wildlife and Countryside Act, 1981, and classified in the UK as an Amber List species under the Birds of Conservation Concern review.