The red kite is a large bird of prey. They have angled red wings with black tips. The red kite can be identified from other birds of prey by its long forked tail. The size of red kites can range from 58 to 64cm. They have a wingspan of 1.8m and can weigh between 1 and 1.2kg.
The red kite is considered the national bird of Wales but it’s a species that faced heavy persecution during the 19th and 20th centuries. The red kite was considered the enemy of gamekeepers.
Accelerated conservation of the red kite started in the 1980s and in 1996, the Welsh Kite Trust was formed. When conservation started it was noted that the birds were genetically related, perhaps due to the lack of suitable habitat, therefore, other birds were introduced to try and improve genetic diversity.
It is now thought that there are 2,500 breeding pairs which is an amazing success. Feeding stations have been created to help these birds in the wild and large numbers of them gather at the feeding stations to not only help the birds directly but also to attract tourists and provide an educational opportunity. The red kite is a great example of how species pushed to the brink can bounce back if we allow nature to thrive.
Have you seen a red kite in the UK? We'd love to know!
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