Wednesday, 23 April 2014

Black Kite

This portrait of a Black Kite (Milvus migrans) was taken at Liberty's Owl, Raptor and Reptile Centre in Ringwood, Hampshire in February 2014.

Black Kites can be found throughout the continents of Europe, Asia, Africa and Australia. They are mainly migratory, with birds from the temperate parts of Europe and northern Asia travelling to sub-Saharan Africa for winter. Birds that are resident to tropical regions do not tend to migrate. They are not resident in the UK, but can occasionally be seen during their migration.

Their diet primarily consists of carrion, small mammals, fish, and birds. They soar on thermals as they search for food, then swoop with their legs lowered to snatch the prey. They also scavenge food from household refuse.

Black Kites are currently classified as "least concern", with an estimated six million individuals worldwide. They are one of the most common raptors in the world, despite a decline in the overall population due to poisoning, shooting, pollution of water, overuse of pesticides and loss of habitat.

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