Red kite Milvus milvus, in flight, UK

Threats

As scavengers, red kites are particularly sensitive to illegal poisoning.

Threats to red kites

Illegal poison baits set for foxes or crows are indiscriminate and kill protected birds and other animals. It is estimated that at least half of our native Welsh kites die through this deliberate abuse of agricultural chemicals. 

In Scotland the survival of juvenile birds is especially low due to poisoning. This is limiting the growth of the kite population in Scotland. It is estimated that more than a third of the released and wild-bred Scottish kites were illegally poisoned between 1989 and 2001. 

Poisoning is also the most frequent cause of death of kites in England. Red kites are especially vulnerable to the modern rodenticides used to control rats, since they are skilled in finding the corpses of poisoned rats.

Dead red kite