The red kite is slightly larger than the common buzzard with a body length of 60-66 cm and a wingspan of 175-195 cm. The male red kite weighs between 800 -1,200grams but the female is heavier at 1,000 to 1,300grams.
The most distinctive feature of the red kite in flight is its forked tail. Although the common buzzard looks similar to the red kite when seen in silhouette, when it is flying the buzzard has a short fan shaped tail. The call of the red kite is piping sound similar to the mewing of a common buzzard.
The red kite is a large sized raptor with distinctive plumage. The wings are red brown, tipped with black, and with white patches underneath. The distinctive long forked tail is reddish brown.