The Red Kite (Milvus milvus) is an elegant and graceful raptor. It is readily identified on the wing by its deeply forked tail, which is constantly twisted as an aid to flight control, and by its long bowed wings. The Red Kite seldom spends much time on the ground, except when hunting earthworms, but will remain perched in a tree for extended periods. The sexes are similar.
The adult has a pale grey head but otherwise it is reddish brown overall when perched. At close range, the yellow eye, base of the bill and legs can be discerned. When seen from below in flight, the reddish brown body and underwing coverts, the silvery grey tail and patch on the primaries, and the otherwise dark wings are visible.
Red Kites favour areas where a mosaic exists of open country, including farmland, and scattered patches of woodland for nesting and roosting. The Red Kite utters a shrill call in flight, not unlike someone whistling to their dog.
- Sterry.P., (2004) Collins Complete Guide to British Birds. Harper Collins Publishing Ltd, London.