Red kite at Hemblington by Brian Shreeve 1/5
Red kite by Bob Frewin 2/5
Red kite by Richard Woodhouse 3/5
Red Kite at NWT Holme by Eric Yeomans 4/5
Red kite by Nick Appleton 5/5

Red Kite Milvus milvus

Red kites sightings in Norfolk have increased as the population has risen over the last 10 years. The greatest number of sightings are along the coast but there are more sightings reported in central Norfolk. With its distinctive forked tail and reddish-brown plumage the red kite is master of the skies and a joy to watch.

Conservation status

Due to persecution, the breeding population of red kites reduced to a small number of breeding pairs in mid-Wales by the 1920s. However, a reintroduction programme started in 1989 and red kites bred in England and Scotland for the first time in 1982 and are continuing to spread. The red kite has green conservation status in the UK, red kites are successful here, but globally it is a near threatened species.

In Norfolk, the numbers continue to increase with the Norfolk Bird and Mammal Report 2016 reporting 8 pairs breeding, or attempting to breed, in the County.

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Did you know? Red kites were seen regularly in urban areas, clearing the streets of carrion until the Tudor Vermin Laws saw a bounty paid for their carcasses.
Shakespeare mentions them 14 times in his plays. King Lear calls his daughter Goneril a “detested kite”. Shakespeare refers to their habit of building their nests with rubbish they collected. “When the kite builds, look to your lesser linen”, was warning that kites will steal from washing lines.
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