ap3535's picture

Red kite??

Today I saw and heard a pair of birds circling above the hill on which I live in the country. They were too high for my camera to give a sensible image, but had forked tails and barred wings and were banking and circling like kites and making mewing cries.

I live in North Dorset. Could these possibly have been red kites? I read that they have extended their range.



Amadan's picture

According to the RSPB

Whilst breeding ranges are only slowly expanding, "non-breeding birds are regularly seen in all parts of Britain".

Ray Turner's picture


BTO’s BirdTrack distribution map seems to be up the creek as according to it no Red Kites have ever been seen in the UK, anywhere!

However a personal opinion would be there are very likely Red Kites in your area. Your description is indicative of Red Kites too. I particularly like that mewing call they have; sounds like it should be in some remote arid desert highland somewhere rather than the rolling downs of the home counties.



ap3535's picture

thank you

Many thanks, Ray.

They were back again yesterday, but only briefly. Great to glimpse and hear them. But they will have to share their feeding area with our resident buzzards, alas! and there are various commercial shoots operating as well.

Ray Turner's picture


Out of interest I emailed the BTO about the nonworking map and they reminded me, and this is pertinent to the shoots you mention too, that despite their growing numbers and ever wider distribution they are still a Schedule 1 listed species. It is an offence to cause harm either deliberately or through neglect to a Sched 1 species as such the BTO’s policy is not to show reported sightings on any of the maps.



DeeJay's picture

Red kites

I was in Princes Risborough a while ago and counted 15 Red Kites (maybe several family groups) wheeling and soaring in the sky. Apparently some locals feed them with cat food?
They were introduced near Henley I believe and really doing well, one sees them all over Oxon and Bucks.

John Pilkington's picture

South Wales

I remain surprised that Red Kites don't seem to have spread south of the northern parts of the Brecon Beacons yet, especially given the very large numbers that frequent the well-known feeding station in mid-Wales (where I think the first re-introductions started). The landscape to the south of the valleys is very similar to that along the rest of the M4 corridor, where I have regularly seen pairs or individuals. There are now plenty of Buzzards in the southern parts of Wales.

I wonder whether it is because the Kites prefer to stay where meals are guaranteed, rather than venture south. Perhaps the tourist attraction is preventing the natural spread of birds as they multiply, whereas in other parts of the country the birds look for new territories as the numbers increase.

DavidHowdon's picture

Some thoughts

I recall reading that one of the factors that Red Kites use to decide whether an area is suitable to breed in is the presence of other Red Kites in that area. This I think tends to mean they expand their range quite slowly.

David Shaw's picture

One of the first

One of the first re-introductions of red kites, many years ago now, was to the Black Isle on the north side of the Moray Firth. They are now common in this area. I live on the south side of the Firth, just a few miles away 'as the crow flies', and we very rarely see one over here.