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Conservation status: Amber

This magnificently graceful bird of prey is unmistakable with its reddish-brown body, angled wings and deeply forked tail. It was saved from national extinction by one of the world's longest running protection programmes, and has now been successfully re-introduced to England and Scotland. It is an Amber List species because of its historical decline.



Latin name

Milvus milvus


Hawks and eagles (Accipitridae)

Where to see them

At one time confined to Wales, a reintroduction scheme has brought them back to many parts of England and Scotland. Central Wales, central England - especially the Chilterns, central Scotland - at Argaty, and along the Galloway Kite Trail are the best areas to find them.

When to see them

All year round.

What they eat

Mainly carrion and worms, but opportunistic and will occasionally take small mammals.


EuropeUK breeding*UK wintering*UK passage*
-1,600 pairs--


In the UK
The population that survived the persecution in the old oakwoods of mid-Wales has spread, and continues to go from strength to strength. In England the reintroduced birds can be found in the Buckinghamshire/Oxfordshire area, Hertfordshire, Northamptonshire, Yorkshire, Gateshead, Northumberland and the Newcastle area and Grizedale Forest in Cumbria. The Scottish population is centred around the release sites in Dumfries and Galloway, Stirling-shire and west Perthshire, around Black Isle in Ross-shire, and on the outskirts of Aberdeen City. Kites have also now been returned to Northern Ireland.


Jens Kirkeby, Xeno-canto

Defend the Nature Directives

For the past 30 years, the EU Nature Directives have provided the highest level of protection for the now-thriving red kite – helping save it from extinction.

But European leaders are considering rolling back decades of progress by weakening the Directives, instantly putting the future of this amazing bird at risk.

Visit our Defend Nature page to find out the latest on our campaign to prevent these laws from being weakened.

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