At HED Ltd, we are lucky to have regular sightings of red kites flying over our office on the Black Isle. Unmistakable for other raptors, the red kite is easily identified with it's grey coloured head and red-brownish body, and forked tail.
Although classified as a bird of prey occasionally feeding on small mammals, carrion and worms form their main diet.
The red kite is residential to the UK and was saved from national extinction, and reintroduced successfully to Scotland and England during the 90's.
Threats included persecution and illegal poisoning in addition to colliding with power cables. Challenges which still exist today.
Nests are constructed within trees, often using crows nests or squirrel dreys as a base, often contain a wide range of materials. There have even been incidents of red kites stealing washing from lines to line their nests. Unfortunately this means some materials including plastic can be an issue as nests can become waterlogged; a danger to eggs and fledglings.
According to the RSPB, there are approximately 1,600 red kite pairs in the UK, and they are listed under schedule 1 of the Wildlife and Countryside Act. Next time you visit the Black Isle, be on the look out for this stunning predator.