Red Kite

Milvus milvus (Linnaeus, 1758)

Falco milvus: Linnaeus, 1758: 89; Milvus regalis: Finch, 1859: 380, Radakoff, 1879: 164, Hristovich, 1890: 189.

Order Falconiformes

Family Accipitridae

Conservation status: in Bulgaria: Critically endangered CR=B[1(a+b(iv+v))+ 2(a+b(iii+iv))]+D, BDA-II, III; International: BeC-II, BoC-II, ECS-Spec 2, BD-I.

General distribution. A European species, breeding mainly in Central and Southern Europe, up to about 61 N, in the east to Caucasus, Asia Minor and Northern Africa.

Distribution and abundance in Bulgaria. Resident and passage migrant. Until 1985 assumed to be genuine were the data of a pair observed near Blagoevgrad [2], a pair filmed in the Provadiya region [3], one pair in the Sofia region [4]. Individuals are sporadically encountered in Dobrudzha [5] and the Haskovo region [6]. It is mainly found during migration or as a wintering species, mainly individuals [7]. In the breeding period, a pair and individuals for the Eastern Rhodopes [8], Srebarna Lake [9], one pair for each of the Danube, the Black Sea coast, Sakar Planina mountain and the Eastern Rhodopes [10], singular individuals during migration and the nesting period near Studen Kladenets reservoir near Sliven, Yambol region and Dobrudzha [11]. In the winter and during migration, it is found mainly along the Black Sea coast and the open areas up to an altitude of 1200 m.

Habitats. Forests in the valleys close to open areas, arable fields and pastures.

Biology. In Bulgaria it has not been studied. It nests mainly in trees, at a height of 12-15 m, in the periphery of forests, rarely using old nests of Crows or Common Buzzards. The nest is built mainly from branches and is used for several years. It lays 2-3 oval white eggs, sometimes coloured with reddish spots. The young ones leave the nest after about 50-70 days. It feeds on invertebrate and vertebrate animals, including carrion [11, 12], in Bulgaria mainly on amphibians, reptiles, rodents [11,13].

Similar species. The Black Kite (Milvus migrans).

Negative factors. Destruction and change of habitats, poisoning and death by cars on the roads. During migration and wintering: poisoning and shooting.

Conservation measures taken. Protected since 1962, included in the Red Data Book of Bulgaria (1985).

Conservation measures needed. Preparation of a National Plan for the conservation of the species. Ban on the use of poisons and chemicals in the regions of nesting, migration and wintering.

References. 1. Hagemeijer, Blair, 1997; 2. Patev, 1950; 3. Boev, 1962; 4. Baumgart, 1971; 5. Iankov, in press; 6. Michev, 1978; 7. Profirov, 1981; Simeonov, 1985; 8. Iankov, 1988; 9. Iankov, 1991; 10. Nankinov, 1991; 11. Ignatov et al., Ornithological Database, BSPB; unpublished data, 2000-2005; 12. Cramp, Simmons, 1980; 13. Prostov, 1964.

Author: Asen Ignatov

Red Kite (distribution map)

Red Kite (drawing)