The Red Kite is a beautiful and elegant raptor for which Europe has a very high responsibility as almost all of the world population breeds in Europe.
The story of the Red Kite in Europe in Europe is a mixed one. While habitat destruction and especially illegal poisoning is threatening populations in some countries like Spain, the British population has made a spectacular comeback thanks to conservation efforts for the small population that survived in Wales and also thanks to successful reintroduction programmes in Scotland and England.
Despite ongoing persecution, especially in some parts of Scotland, the story of the Red Kite in the UK in recent decades is a very positive and encouraging one.
In this new interview, Red Kite expert Ian Carter talks about the current situation of this beautiful raptor in the UK, about the conservation efforts and the threats the species is facing.
Almost the entire World distribution of the Red Kite lives in Europe. The species has declined in many areas due to the intensification of agriculture, electrocution, illegal poisoning and other reasons.
But conservation does work very well for the species in some countries, for example the UK where conservation measures and reintroduction programs in Scotland and England has helped to increase the population considerably.
A new reintroduction program is currently under way in Tuscany (Italy).
Guido Ceccolini explains in a new interview on europeanraptors.org why the Red Kite became extinct the the region and what is done to bring the beautiful raptor back. He also gives some information on other raptors in the area.
The Red Kite was extinct in Scotland but thanks to a reintroduction project done by the RSPB and others, the birds are can now be seen again in Scotland. In 2009, the population reached a new high with 149 pairs fledging 234 young which is probably more pairs than any time during the last 150 years.
The UK population in 2008 was estimated at 1,200 pairs.
The Red Kite was a breeding species in Tuscany but died out in the 20th century, mostly due to poaching.
A new reintroduction project started releasing birds using the same technique as was used successfully in the UK. The young were taken from healthy populations in Switzerland and Corsica. In 2007 and 2008, 26 Red Kites were released.
In 2009, another 20 birds were released.
This video from Youtube shows some beautiful scenes with the birds:
LPO (Birdlife France) is hosting an international symposium on the Red Kite on October 17-18th. The conference will be held in Montbéliard (eastern France).
Here is the text from the official invitation by the LPO:
And what if the
symbol of European
the Red kite ?
Its distribution is limited to the old continent, a bird which is impressive yet delicate, wayfaring but also sedentary, found in
both Mediterranean and Scandinavian regions, in forests and meadows where it has been hard hit by the EU agricultural policy
and the choices our society makes with respect to our lifestyle.
The beginning of the 21st C. has put serious pressure on this species.
All kinds of threats, some yet to be understood, are taking a heavy toll on the European population. To offset this
situation, Red kites have been reintroduced to Great Britain and Tuscany, Italy ; in Switzerland they have
been fitted with Argos satellite transmitters ; in Spain wing tags are monitored ; in France feeding sites have been
established, in Germany the impact of wind farms are monitored, etc. To exchange knowledge about this
species and share ideas for future collaborative plans, we are pleased to invite you to the first international
symposium in the framework of the French Restoration Program for Red kite which will take
place in Franche-Comté, eastern France in the heart of the European territory of the Red kite, on October, 17 and