Milvus milvus

Range & Status

W. Europe, with an isolated population in the Caucasus. British population formerly restricted to mid Wales, but an extensive reintroduction scheme initiated in the 1980s has proven very successful with kites now a familiar sight over many parts of England and S. Scotland. Red Kites were not released in Devon or Cornwall in the hope of a natural colonisation from Wales.

Regional Distribution

Until recently a scarce, but annual, wanderer from mid Wales, some of which were longstayers and therefore potential breeders. However, apart from anecdotal reports of kites nesting in the Warleggan/St Neot area in the 1920s there has been little evidence to prove successful breeding. 2008 saw regular reports of birds in the Glynn Valley and around the Taphouses and there were further reports of birds in early 2009. Scarce but increasingly frequent visitor; the wooded valleys running off the southern slopes of Bodmin Moor are attracting one or two long-stayers and future breeding is possible.

Habitat & Ecology

Favours steep-sided, oak-lined valleys with rolling hills above. Takes some live food, but is primarily a scavenger.

Threats

Illegal poison bait put out for foxes, egg collectors, low breeding success and potential loss of Oak Quercus spp. woodland.

Conservation

Protected under Schedule 1 of WCA 1981; Annex 1 of EC Birds Directive; Appendix II of the Bern Convention.