Family Hawks, Eagles (Accipitridae)

Near Threatened

Red Kite (Milvus milvus)


French: Milan royal German: Rotmilan Spanish: Milano real
Other common names: Cape Verde Kite (fasciicauda)

Falco Milvus


, 1758,



Occasional hybridization with M. migrans reported#R#R. Race fasciicauda was briefly considered distinct species in 1990s and 2000s#R, but molecular evidence suggests that it may be invalid (possibly hybrid with M. migrans); population now appears extinct#R#R. Two subspecies tentatively recognized.

Subspecies and Distribution
  • M. m. milvus (Linnaeus, 1758) – S Sweden E to Ukraine and SW Russia, and S through C Europe to W & C Mediterranean Basin; Britain (Wales, reintroduced Scotland and England); maybe Caucasus; formerly Canary Is.
  • M. m. fasciicauda E. J. O. Hartert, 1914 – Cape Verde Is, where almost surely extinct#R.
  • Descriptive notes

    60–72 cm; male 757–1221 g, female 960–1600 g; wingspan 143–171 cm. Larger than M. migrans and redder brown; tail more clearly... read more


    Often silent away from nest. Commonest call between partners a mewing "weee-oo", not unlike that of... read more


    Open wooded land; varied country, including forests or woods mixed with farmland, pasture or... read more

    Food and feeding

    Wide range of food types, but essentially carrion and small or medium-sized mammals and birds; diet varies according to local availability... read more


    Laying Mar–May. Nest a platform of sticks, often with rags or plastic incorporated, and normally lined with wool, built in fork or on... read more


    Mainly migratory in N & C Europe, although showing an increasing tendency to overwinter in... read more

    Status and conservation

    Not globally threatened. Currently considered Near Threatened. Cape Verde Is form fasciicauda (quite possibly not even a valid taxon) probably now extinct, and all... read more

    Recommended citation

    Orta, J., Christie, D.A. & Garcia, E.F.J. (2020). Red Kite (Milvus milvus). In: del Hoyo, J., Elliott, A., Sargatal, J., Christie, D.A. & de Juana, E. (eds.). Handbook of the Birds of the World Alive. Lynx Edicions, Barcelona. (retrieved from on 24 February 2020).