Talk:Red kite

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Derwent Valley[edit]

The article refers to Derwent Valley indicating it is in the UK. The page pointed to is in Tasmania. It needs to be disambiguated but I do not know which River Derwent to point it to as there are several. May be someone who knows of the area for reintroduction can oblige?

Keith D 17:39, 13 October 2006 (UTC) Stephen Wood —Preceding unsigned comment added by Birdboy123 (talkcontribs) 13:18, 2 September 2008 (UTC)


This awsomely graceful bird of prey is unmistakable with its reddish-brown body, angled wings and forked tail. The red kite was rescued from national extinction by one of the world's longest running protection programmes, and has now been successfully re-introduced to England and Scotland. It is an Amber List species because of its historical decline.

The red kite is now much more widespread and can be sometimes seen on the south downs. these birds eat Carrion, worms and small mammals.

Dangers: As scavengers, red kites are particularly sensitive to illegal poisoning. Illegal poison baits set for foxes or crows are indiscriminate and kill protected birds and other animals. It is estimated that at least half of our native Welsh kites die through this deliberate abuse of agricultural chemicals.

Breeding: Adult red kites are sedentary birds, and they occupy their breeding home range all year. Each nesting territory can contain up to five alternative nest sites. Both birds build the nest on a main fork or a limb high in a tree, 12-20m high. It is made of dead twigs and lined with grass and sheep’s wool.

Re-rated as C class[edit]

I have changed the rating of this article to C as it is woefully undereferenced and appears to contain a lot of original research e.g.

"The Kites are a common sight above the houses of the Buckinghamshire villages of Stokenchurch, Stone, Whitchurch and Haddenham and also the towns of Princes Risborough and as far east as Chesham, the Oxfordshire towns of Didcot and Wallingford, and their surrounding areas. Sightings are common along the M40 between Oxford and Wycombe, all the way down to Reading and Newbury on the M4"

Where does that information come from? The section on "Behaviour" is almost completely devoid of references, reference 1, which is used 4 times, goes to a wikipedia page and a dead link. Also the section on "Populations and trends by country" has a list of souces (i.e. The following figures (mostly estimates) have been collated from various sources.[10][11][2][12][13]) rather than inline references for each figure. Richerman (talk) 00:39, 5 July 2009 (UTC)

I've now updated the dead link Richerman (talk) 01:00, 5 July 2009 (UTC)


I understand the main article is not the place for gossip so this is the best place. I have spotted the Red Kite in Sulhamstead, Berks, half way up the hill. Another location 20 miles away is Sheldons road in Hook, Hants where it passes by early each afternoon. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 13:09, 2 August 2009 (UTC)

I just saw one (I think) over Thorpe Park Business Park (About 8 miles SE of Harewood, Leeds, as mentioned in the article.) Awesome. 15:54, 25 September 2009 (UTC) Oops. Hit 5 tildes then not 4. Markfiend (talk) 15:54, 25 September 2009 (UTC)

I made the editoral reference to Red Kites over High Wycombe. I've taken photos including six or seven birds wheeling over my mother's house in NE High Wycombe (district Totteridge) which I published on my blog. I've also seen them over the M40 (obviously rather difficult to take photos while driving). Twice in the last two years I believe I've seen a Red Kite wheeling at highish altitude over Twickenham; I recognise the flight, but have not been able to take a photograph.

If you want a whole flock of Red Kites wheeling over the landscape, try the Farm "Toyes" (I think) outside Henley-on-Thames, (the farm is in Berkshire), where there can be tens of the birds in the sky as you drive past.

Deapthought (aka Deepthought). —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 19:51, 22 October 2009 (UTC)

Talk pages are not for gossip either, or for general discussions of the subject - they are for for discussing improvements to the article. see wp:talk page Richerman (talk) 22:56, 23 October 2009 (UTC)

Well, if original research, citing its publishing (i.e. mine) is treated as gossip and/or not allowed, this is the last time I bother to waste my time updating Wikipedia. Pointing out these birds are regularly seen low flying over housing estates, towns (and ultimately over London) isn't interesting? I did not bother to sign in to write this...Deapthought [aka Deepthought] signing out for good. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 21:08, 5 December 2009 (UTC)


There is a colony near Corby in Northamptonshire close to the A43 towards Stamford. I have spotted them above the road towards Kettering at Geat Oakley, and also above the old disused airfield at Lower Benefield. Guy (talk) 12:54, 26 October 2009 (UTC)

  • This is, in fact, the "Rockingham Forest" population—GRM (talk) 21:22, 5 December 2009 (UTC)


The definition of mobbing in the relevant artice is "an antipredator behavior which occurs when individuals of a certain species mob a predator by cooperatively attacking or harassing it" The picture in the "distribution and behaviour" shows one red kite flying above an eagle. The caption said a red kite mobbing a white tailed eagle" and as there is only one red kite I changed "mobbing" to "harassing" as one bird clearly can't mob. It has however been changed back so I've changed it again. To be honest, there's nothing in the article about mobbing and all the picture shows is one bird flying above another so it doesn't really illustrate anything and I'm tempted to remove it altogether, however, if it's to stay in, at least get the caption right. Please don't change it back to "mobbing" unless you can explain how one bird can cooperatively attack a predator. Richerman (talk) 22:30, 27 June 2010 (UTC)

I've never known any of the many birders or professional ornithologists I know refer to such behaviour, by a single bird, as anything other than "mobbing". The term is also used for single birds in, for example [1], [2], [3], [4], this from 1954 & the RSPB. Andy Mabbett (User:Pigsonthewing); Andy's talk; Andy's edits 13:12, 28 June 2010 (UTC)
Fair enough, point made, I stand corrected - thanks for the explanation. It seems an incorrect use of the English language to me and in the OED under "mob" it says "of a group of birds, fly noisily and aggressively close to a predator", but if it's used for single birds by professionals then that's what we have to go with. Perhaps someone should change the definition in the Animal mobbing behavior article. Now, if we could have a picture that actually showed the behaviour, like one of your examples it would be a lot more useful :) Having just been on holiday near Aberystwyth I have to say that, from my limited observations, it seems to be the red kites that get mobbed most of the time rather than the other way round. I saw them being attacked by crows and gulls on a number of occasions. Richerman (talk) 21:07, 28 June 2010 (UTC)

According to this report,, the term Shithawk or Shitehawk should redirect here. Seriously, check the refernce! Chrisrus (talk) 06:42, 6 March 2011 (UTC)


"In the United Kingdom Red Kites were once so common that William Shakespeare described London as " a city of Red Kites and Crows"."

Not as far as I can find he didn't. The phrase "the city of kites and crows" appears in Coriolanus (IV.v.34-38), a Roman story, so even at a fairly imaginative stretch Shakespeare is only referring to London by analogy. Sergeirichard (talk) 23:09, 6 October 2011 (UTC)

Good catch -- I've removed the offending statement now. BabelStone (talk) 23:45, 6 October 2011 (UTC)
"giving rise to their common name in Elizabethan England - Shitehawk" seems to be a fabrication as well. Google Books indicates that "Shitehawk" was WWII era nickname for the Black Kite found in India and Egypt. I can find no evidence that it was known ny this name during Elizabethan times. BabelStone (talk) 23:53, 6 October 2011 (UTC)::
Listen to this BBC radio report about the "Shithawk" or "Shitehawk" :url=
I will listen to it later today, but my immediate response is that people sitting around a table in a radio studio are not reliable sources, even if they are experts in their fields, because their memory may be faulty (hence the misremembering of the Shakespeare quote as referring to London). I have searched Google Books for "shitehawk", "shithawk", "shite hawk" and "shit hawk", and found many 20th century examples of this word/phrase, but not a single example that dates it back to Elizabethan times. Take a look at this Google Ngram that shows no usage pre-1940s. I will be happy to reinstate the name if we can find a reliable print source that indicates that: 1) that this term was in common use during Elizabethan times; and 2) the term referred to the Red Kite. BabelStone (talk) 07:23, 7 October 2011 (UTC)
I think he clears the matter up. AsI recall, it wasn;;t shakespere, it was the other guy. give it a listen, it's[[wp:rs}}. Chrisrus (talk) 11:30, 7 October 2011 (UTC)
I've listened to the program now, and the presenter Rod Liddle is the only source for Red Kites being called shitehawks, and he provides no citation or other evidence for "shitehawk" ever having been used to refer to the Red Kite, either now or "centuries ago". Indeed the only expert called upon to verify the term tells us: "The kites in India are Black Kites, which are actually the commonest species of raptor in the world, ... and I imagine that shitehawk was probably a name that arose there from people from the British Empire who went out and saw this bird and called it that". That the shitehawk refers to the Black Kite rather than the Red Kite is confirmed by the OED (you can probably access it online through your local library in the UK) which specifies in its entry for shite-hawk that the term is 20th century military slang for the Black Kite, and its earliest quotation for the term dates to 1944: [deleted]
As the OED is a reliable source, and is highly unlikely to have missed any earlier historical references known only to Rod Liddle, I think we can close the discussion now, and change the redirects of Shitehawk to Black Kite. (On the other hand, the OED dates the nickname windfucker for the Kestrel back to 1599, but that isn't in the Kestrel article.) BabelStone (talk) 19:21, 7 October 2011 (UTC)

────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────Discussion was continued at Talk:Shithawk, and a new article has now been created at Shite-hawk. BabelStone (talk) 14:28, 9 October 2011 (UTC)

Rare species?[edit]

The introductory para stated this is a "rare species" - by what definition? It may not be common but it is far from rare in many parts of its wide range. Detailed information on distribution and status is further down the article including an estimate of 19K-25K pairs in Europe. I deleted the reference to rarity in the intro as it seemed misleading. Newburyjohn (talk) 10:13, 30 August 2012 (UTC)

Too many similar photos[edit]

This article now has 3 photos of a Red Kite in flight which are almost identical. I propose at least 1, if not 2, of these are deleted as being superfluous.__DrChrissy (talk) 17:31, 9 November 2013 (UTC)

I agree, and contemplated removing one of them when the most recent one was added. I suggest keeping either the Spain or Sweden picture as they are the best quality, and removing the Berkshire picture. The picture of the Red Kite harassing the white-tailed eagle is also of poor quality and could be removed. BabelStone (talk) 17:41, 9 November 2013 (UTC)
I agree about the harrasing Red Kite photo.__DrChrissy (talk) 18:49, 9 November 2013 (UTC)
Agreed. I've removed some of the poorer quality ones and rearranged the others - still not sure if the Belgian one adds much though. The problem with kites is that they hang about in the sky just asking to be photographed, so there are lots of similar photos of them about and everyone wants to add theirs to the article. Richerman (talk) 18:55, 9 November 2013 (UTC)
I have just reinstated the "Red kite in flight at Gigrin farm" photo. I will be honest from the outset. This is my photo, however, I will not enter into an edit war about this, rather, I am seeking concensus here. I believe the photo should stay because it is the only one showing the markings on the upper surface of the wings when in flight, the bird fills a reasonable proportion of the frame, it captures the dynamic nature of the feathers, it is not taken against a blue sky which makes it easier to see details on the flying bird, and it is taken at one of the locations mentioned in the article. I accept the photo is a little "soft" - this is a chracteristic of my digital zoom lens at its longest focal length, however, I feel the positive aspects of the image outweigh this.
The article still has two almost identical photos of the bird from underneath against a blue sky__DrChrissy (talk)
I've no problem with that. Looking at the thumbnail it looks as if the tail feathers go out of the edge of the photo but actually, when you view it full size they don't. I agree that the other two are very similar but I didn't want to take too many out and I couldn't find anything different but of good quality in commons. Richerman (talk) 19:45, 9 November 2013 (UTC)
Thanks for that. I can't pick out which one of the two Kite in the Sky pictures is best and I feel it rather unfair to remove one arbirarily, so perhaps both should stay.__DrChrissy (talk) 19:53, 9 November 2013 (UTC)
I've found one of a different view on commons, cropped it and replaced the Swedish kites in the sky image. Richerman (talk) 20:40, 9 November 2013 (UTC)

External links modified[edit]

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Question? Archived sources still need to be checked

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