Back from the brink

Red kites are large birds with deeply forked tails and wonderful, buoyant flight. They are predominantly scavengers, but will take small live prey such as voles, frogs and birds if the opportunity arises. The juveniles are similar in appearance to the adults, with less colouring and less of a forked tail.

This magnificent bird, which once bred prolifically across Derbyshire and the UK, but has been widely persecuted in the past.

There are no records of breeding in Derbyshire since 1863, and beyond the 1950s only a handful of pairs remained anywhere in the UK; these were restricted to remote Welsh valleys. During the 1990s there was an ambitious reintroduction project, which began in the Chilterns and elsewhere. This has proven successful. However, it has taken a further twenty or more years for a pair of kites to settle in Derbyshire due to their slow colonisation.

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