Black Kite

Milvus migrans Boddaert, 1783

Order Falconiformes

Family Accipitridae

Conservation status: in Bulgaria: Vulnerable VU=A[2(a+c)] + B[1b(ii+iii+iv) + 2c(iii)] + C[2b(i)] + D[1], BDA-II, III; International: IUCN-LC, CITES-II, BeC-II, BoC-II, ECS-Spec 3, BD-I.

General distribution. A species of the Old World with a large distribution in Europe, Asia, Africa, the island of Madagascar, Australia and the Indo-Malayan archipelago. The European population is comparatively small, under 100 000 pairs, with a considerable decrease in 1970-1990, the negative tendency continuing in most of Europe.

Distribution and abundance in Bulgaria. A breeding summer visitor, passage migrant and partly winter visitor. In the past it was comparatively common around the rivers Danube, Maritsa, etc. and along the Black Sea coast [1]. For 1982, numbers of 100-500 pairs were reported [2]. For the recent years the population has been estimated at 130-170 pairs [3]. During the multiplication season it is most frequent along the Danube and its tributaries, the valleys of the rivers Maritsa, Tundzha and their tributaries, in the mountains Sakar and Dervenstski Vuzvisheniya. During wandering and migrations it can be found everywhere around the country, but the migration along the Black Sea coast is more significant.

Habitats. Valley and hilly regions of the country, without the mountainous zone over 1 000 m. It prefers places close to wetlands, even in an increased anthropogenic pressure [4].

Biology. It breeds singularly or in thinned colonies of up to 30 pairs [4]. It gathers in groups during eating, wandering, rest and migration [4]. Polyphagous, it feeds on carrion, often taking the prey of other birds, catches insects and small vertebrate animals [7].

Similar species. The Red Kite (Milvus milvus).

Negative factors. Intensive agriculture and clashes with high-voltage lines, the extraction of inert materials and wood along the valleys of rivers; poisoning, illegal shooting by poachers, industrial and domestic pollution of the soils and the waters.

Conservation measures taken. Protected according to the Biological Diversity Act. Included in the Red Data Book of Bulgaria (1985).

Conservation measures needed. More active preservation and management of the habitats, including wetlands; restriction of the use of poisonous baits and use of chemicals in agriculture; safeguarding high-voltage lines.

References. 1. Patev, 1950; 2. Michev, 1982; 3. Nankinov et al., 2004; 4. Cramp et al, 1983; 5. Simeonov et al. 1990; 6. Baumgart, 1971; 7. Dementev et al., 1951; 8. Shurulinkov et al., 2005.

Authors: Simeon Marin, Ivelin Ivanov, Tseno Petrov, Stoycho Stoychev

Black Kite (distribution map)

Black Kite (drawing)