Red kite (lat. Milvus milvus) a predatory bird that belongs to the Hawki family. This species is listed in many lists of rare and significant birds for the scientific community.
It is problematic to call the red kite to be a small predator, but it does not reach the large sizes. The length of the body can reach eighty centimeters, and weight-2-3 kg, at the same time the wingspan of the kite exceeds two meters. The general color is brown or red, there may also be a rusty shade. The plumage hides many different colors, for example, the tail from the upper part seems plain and bright red, and below it is light, moreover, it is covered with many black strokes. The head is noticeably lighter than the body, mainly gray or beige. The beak and some of the legs unprotected by feathers are black. The “outfit” of the female and the male is almost indistinguishable, the only male representatives can be slightly larger.
Red kite on its external signs and habits is very similar to a fellow, black kite. But he has one feature that does not occur among other members of the family this is a recess on the tail that resembles the English letter V.
Lifestyle and behavior
Although representatives of this species can build a dwelling on their own, they prefer to settle in the nests already built by other birds, for example, they often take the place of residence of Kanyuk residence. These birds try to find only one partner with whom they will spend the rest of their lives. But if the reproduction period has not yet come, the female and the male practically do not meet, spending most of the time in was given from each other. Noteworthy can be called the fact that annually birds visit their past nests, especially the one in which they were born. Even small individuals try to settle near them in the first years of life.
These birds fly off for wintering in advance, starting from August or September, and fly back already with the advent of a warm climate, this is mainly happening in midApril or in May.
Where they live
On the territory of Eurasia, the habitat of red kite is extremely limited and you can only meet them in the Kaliningrad region, as well as near Pskov. Basically, birds of this species are met in Mediterranean countries. Often they fly to Africa, small Asia, Europe or even the Caucasus, but soon leave these regions due to the most favorable climatic conditions for them.
Wintering takes place on the territory of Western Europe. There are a fairly large number of populations around the world, but even despite this, the bird is included in the World Red Book, as well as in the Red Book of Eurasia, since the number of individuals does not increase every year, and often even falls.
What they eat
Since representatives of this species, however, like all other members of the family, are attributed to predatory birds, their diet is based on this. When the kite goes hunting, he begins to soar at a small height, peering into the distance in search of prey. When the predator notes small game, it begins to dive and immediately grabs it with sharp claws, which is why most small rodents are simply not able to escape. In the diet of this bird, mammals, reptiles and birds are mainly found, but sometimes there you can find rainworms, which the animal has to eat due to the lack of other options, as well as invertebrates. In extreme cases, individuals begin to eat carrion, basically these are the remains of sheep or goats.
If the bird notices near larger predators, it continues to hang in the air until they can get enough, and only after that dives to eat herself.
Females of this species lay eggs in April, and the number of eggs in laying does not exceed 3-4. Their color is white, but with a small amount. The fetal maturation occurs for 35-38 days, and then a chick is born. Only the female is engaged in incubation, while the male hunts and gets food. In rare cases, the mother has to leave the nest for a couple of minutes, for example, when she cannot wait for the male for a long time, because during the hunt you can easily die, since there are not so few predators in the district. After birth, the chicks are aggressive to each other, which is why in some cases one of the kids dies.
About 45 days, the chicks do not leave their nest, and then go to neighboring branches. When they begin to feel confidence in the paws, the female pushes them so that they finally try to dissolve their wings and fly. If the young bird did not succeed, it may die. After a successful flight, a couple more weeks should go, and only after that the chick will be considered an independent and mature bird, and he leaves the parent’s nest.
It is believed that a sharp reduction in the number of red kite began due to the rapid development of agricultural activity and the development of new territories. In addition, due to not the largest sizes, it is much easier to hunt for this bird, because conditional kanyuki can hide from a shot, and then even attack.