Black kite (Milvus migrans)

Identity card
Wingspan: 140-150 cm
Plumage (adults): Dark, with black wingtips, slightly forked tail
Flight silhouette: Large and pointed wings, the tail is less forked than the red kite’s
Environment: Vast open spaces with woods and large trees, near streams or lakes
Nest: On trees. The nest is made of twigs, pieces of cloth, and also plastic or other waste.
Diet: Dead fishes, other carrion, garbage, small mammals (especially mice and voles), worms, insects, fishes and small birds
Eggs: 1-3
Presence: In spring-summer

Distribution and status
The range of black kites in Europe is very wide, with an estimated population of 64,000-100,000 pairs.
In the IUCN -  International Union for the Conservation of Nature - Red List (2008), this species is classified as vulnerable, because it declined by 30% over three generations.
In Italy, this species appears stable or slightly expanding, with about 700-1,200 pairs.
The range is fragmented, presenting four main clusters: the pre-Alps, the coastal area of Maremma and Lazio, inland central Italy in proximity to lakes (Tuscany, Lazio and Umbria), and southern Italy (Campania, Basilicata, Ionian Calabria and Apulia).

Poison and other threats
Poison is the main threat to this species. Water pollution, pesticides and rodenticides, electrocution, wind farms and poaching constitute further dangers.

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  • Black kite
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