Red Kite

(Milvus milvus)




Facts about this animal

The Red Kite has a total length of 56 - 61 cm and they weigh from 757 to 1221 g. The plumage is streaked and variegated, reddish brown with a greyer head. The wings are long and pointed. The tail is rather long and deeply forked. The legs are short and yellow. Juveniles have a paler body, a darker head and a less rusty coloured tail.

Did you know?
that Red Kites are mainly migratory in northern and central Europe, althought there's an increasing tendency to winter in these areas, including souther Sweden? Populations in the south of it's range and also in Wales are sedentary, with varying degrees of dispersal of juveniles. The vast majority of migrants winter in southern France and especially the Iberian Peninsula, passing over the western Pyrenees, where 10.300 birds have been recorded on the autumn migration in 1989. There's also some migration to northern Africa.


Class AVES
Name (Scientific) Milvus milvus
Name (English) Red Kite
Name (French) Milan royal
Name (German) Rotmilan
Name (Spanish) Milano real
Local names Danish: Rød glente
Dutch: Rode Wouw
Finnish: Isohaarahaukka, Milhano
Hungarian: Vörös kánya
Italian: Nibbio reale
Norwegian: Glente
Polish: Kania ruda
Portuguese: Milhano
Swedish: Glada, Röd glada
CITES Status Appendix II (Listed under FALCONIFORMES spp.)
CMS Status Appendix II (as Accipitridae spp.)



Photo Copyright by
Hans Hillewaert



Range Europe and Morocco
Habitat Open wooded land, normally at low altitudes, but up to 2,500 m in Morocco. More open areas in winter, Europe and northern Africa.
Wild population Approx. 21,000-25,000 (2009) (Red List IUCN 2011)
Zoo population 64 reported to ISIS (2007)

In the Zoo

Red Kite


How this animal should be transported

For air transport, Container Note 20 of the IATA Live Animals Regulations should be followed.Untrained birds travel better in completely dark boxes, with a carpeted floor and roof, with an upwards sliding door at one end and no perch. As a general rule, trained birds are easier to manage in boxes with a carpeted perch at the right height to give plenty of head and tail room, and with a hinged side opening door.

For air transport, Container Note 20 of the IATA Live Animals Regulations should be followed.


Find this animal on ZooLex


Photo Copyright by
Thomas Kraft

Why do zoos keep this animal

Red kites are kept by European zoos for educational purposes to familiarise visitors with an element of the native fauna. Very frequently they are also kept for animal welfare reasons, as zoos may have to care for injured birds, which cannot be returned to the wild.