Red Kites - majestically flying again
This impressive bird of prey was once prevalent throughout the UK, until persecution reduced its range to Wales. But a highly successful reintroduction scheme has brought this bird back to many parts of England and Scotland, as well as Central Wales.
The red kite is a medium-large bird of prey in the family Accipitridae, which also includes many other diurnal raptors such as eagles, buzzards, and harriers.
Almost driven to extinction throughout Britain during the 19th century, a small population in Wales was carefully protected. In 1989 a re-introduction programme was set up by the RSPB and the Nature Conservancy Council because of concerns about the slow rate of population expansion in Wales, and the improbability of natural re-colonisation of other suitable parts of the UK.
In England, red kites have been re-introduced to four areas since 1989: the Chilterns, East Midlands, Yorkshire and north-east England. The first birds were brought from Spain, but as the Chilterns population grew quickly it produced enough young birds to donate small numbers to establish populations in the other areas. The final project, Northern Kites near Gateshead in north-east England, began in 2004.
Red kites brought from Sweden and Germany to North and Central Scotland have led to breeding populations being successfully established. In Dumfries & Galloway, 100 red kites were brought from the Chilterns and North Scotland, and breeding is now becoming regular.
Links to external websites are not maintained by Bite Sized Britain. They are provided to give users access to additional information. Bite Sized Britain is not responsible for the content of these external websites.