About Red Kites
The red kite has a wing span of five and a half feet. It has a reddish-brown body and wings with black tips, a grey head and distinctive rufous forked tail. The underside of the wings have black, brown and white feathers.
Image courtesy of Kevin Gray
800 - 1200g. Generally, males are lighter than females by approximately 5% but there is an overlap.ie a large male could be heavier than a small female.
Carrion, small mammals and worms, fish.
Wooded hills and open country.
Nests in woodland trees, 8 - 20 metres from the ground. Kites will sometimes use an old buzzard's or crow's nest.
The nest is made from twigs and lined with wool, often decorated with coloured polythene, rags and unusual objects such as gloves, socks and toys.
1- 3, occasionally 4 eggs, laid from late March onwards. Incubation takes 31 - 33 days, fledging in 50 - 70 days.
Usually 4 to 5 years, but individuals can live for 25-30 years.
Their call is a high, often repetitive 'mewing' . Here is an example, courtesy of Helen Olive.
Here is a video showing kites in flight: http://www.birdforum.tv/action/viewvideo/2275/
BBC Wildlife................. more information
Red Kites are extremely skilful and here, taken by Tom Melton, we see kites swooping to take dead carrion from a Lake.
and here, feeding on the wing.
Kites are sociable birds, but during severe weather conditions, they become more competitive and often struggle to seize food from each other as they feed on the wing.
These two images are kindly donated by Colin Crowdey, a Wiltshire photographer. Several of his images have appeared in the media. His Gallery can be found at http://lcc-images.com/
Another recent photograph shows the dexterity of the kite as it feeds on the wing.
The kites will often gather together to form roosts.
Image courtesy of Gerry Whitlow
People often wonder how to tell the difference between a red kite and a buzzard, another bird of prey.
In this next image, kindly sent in by one of our members, we see a Common Buzzard in flight.
Two distinct differences are apparent: the buzzard's wings are more rounded and the tail is a fan-shape. It is more compact and does not have the grey head of the kite.
In this photograph by Ross Forsyth, we can see the confrontation between a red kite and a buzzard,
and again in this photograph a red kite swoops down on a buzzard feeding on the ground.
Go to this thread to learn more about the Buzzard as a KILLER and people's reactions.