Graceful, circling, dancing; Red Kites rule the skies of mid-Wales and are the symbol of Powys where they were brought back from the edge of extinction in the mid-1900’s to the huge numbers seen today. Thriving in the upland habitat, Red Kites eat mostly carrion (already dead animals) and worms. Although they will occasionally take small animals, Red Kites are weak hunters compared to other birds of prey.
Red Kites are now widespread around the UK so keep an eye out up above for these signs when you’re out and about. With a wingspan of 185cm it’s hard to miss a Red Kite in flight; from below you’ll see dark wings that turn white and then continue into dark fingered wing tips. The key detail in identifying a Red Kite is the striking forked tail that is white underneath but from above is a reddish-brown.
Whilst there are Red Kite feeding centres where you can observe hundreds of kites at once, there’s really nothing better than standing on a deserted hillside with one or two kites dancing around you. Other birds of prey you might see include buzzards and sparrowhawks; however the distinctive size and forked tail of the Red Kite mean that once you know the signs you’ll never miss a Red Kite again.
Photo by Matthew Barfield