Police Scotland and RSPB Scotland are appealing for information after it emerged that a protected red kite has been found dead in Aberdeenshire. The bird was discovered in an area of woodland near Aboyne on Royal Deeside by a walker on 6th April.

After recovery of the carcass, a post mortem was carried out. This revealed that the bird’s death was not by natural causes.

Known as Red/Blue 44 after the colour combination and number on its wing-tags, the female kite was three years old and fledged from a nest in Perthshire in 2010. It had bred successfully in 2012, raising three chicks, only a few miles from where it was found dead.

PC Mike Whyte, Police Scotland’s local Wildlife Crime Liaison Officer commented “Local enquiries have so far failed to identify a suspect for this. We are today appealing to the public for information that may assist us in our enquiries”

RSPB Scotland’s Head of Investigations, Ian Thomson said “Despite a Scottish re-introduction programme that has been going for 24 years, the red kite is still a rare breeding bird here. It is one of our most spectacular and unmistakeable birds of prey, with its main diet being carrion, insects or small mammals. It is unforgiveable that someone could deliberately target such a fantastic bird, and I ask anyone who may be able to assist in bringing the perpetrator to justice to contact the police.”

Jenny Lennon, RSPB Scotland Red Kite Project Officer for NE Scotland added “The whole Aberdeen red kite team of staff, partners and volunteers are deeply saddened by the death of red/blue 44; our first known case of illegal killing in Aberdeenshire since the project began 6 years ago. This female was of great importance to our young population with only a handful of our 20 or so breeding pairs on Deeside itself. We hope the three 2012 offspring of red/blue 44 will thrive in Aberdeenshire and contribute further to the Scottish red kite population”.

Anyone with information about this incident or any other wildlife crime issues is asked to telephone Police Scotland on 101, and ask to speak to the Wildlife Crime Liaison Officer. Information can also be passed anonymously to Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111


  • Following their extinction as a breeding bird in Scotland in 1917, a joint RSPB Scotland and Scottish Natural Heritage project was undertaken with the aim of restoring the species to its former range.
  • Kites were released in four areas of Scotland: in 1989-1994, 93 birds on the Black Isle; in 1996-2001, 103 birds in Stirlingshire/Perthshire; in 2001-05, 104 birds in Dumfries & Galloway; and 2007-09, 101 birds in Aberdeenshire.
  • In 2012, there were 214 breeding pairs of red kites in Scotland
  • From 1989-2011; a minimum of 75 red kites fell victim to illegal poisoning, with a further seven the victims of shooting, trapping or nest destruction.


  • Bruce

    “Not natural causes”
    What was the “cause” of this birds death? Was it shot, poisoned, trapped or did it hit overhead cables or a lorry?
    I assume because a suspect is saught its one of the latter?
    Can anyone elaborate on this?

    Editor’s Comment, Bruce we are hearing the death may have been the result of poison, but this is not confirmed.

  • paul williams

    Shot or poisoned is not natural causes.Being hit by a vehicle or overhead power cables is an unfortunate man made accident.If they are seeking a suspect then he cannot be a driver or work for an Electricity company.