Red Kites in Dumfries and Galloway, Scotland reach 100 chicks produced.

Between 2001 and 2005 one hundred and four Red Kites were released near Laurieston (Dumfries and Galloway), using donor stock from North Scotland and the Chilterns reintroduction project in England Many birds have remained in the area due to a successful feeding station found just outside Laurieston. Some people have suggested that this feeding station is the reason the kites have not spread to other areas of Scotland from here. Reports of kites from near Stranraer do show that some birds are moving and here it was found that at least three kites were found to be summering in the area. They appeared to be untagged and therefore cannot be sure of their origins. They may even have bred, but surely will do next year if left alone.

The region’s Red Kites have continued to go from strength to strength and many have bred successfully this year. At least 90 laying pairs are confirmed (at the time of writing), with 76 of these pairs fledging a minimum of 111 young. This is the first year that over a hundred chicks have been confirmed to have fledged since the project began. George Christie (RSPB Galloway Reserves Assistant Warden) calculated the success rate to be slightly better than average at 84.44% (83% for an average year). In 2012 there were 214 breeding pairs of red kites in Scotland and 318 young fledged. This is thought to be close to an accurate population estimate, although a few breeding pairs may be missed each year.

The greatest threat to the Scottish Red Kite reintroduction remains illegal persecution (notably illegal poisoning), despite the fact that Red Kites pose little or no threats to any land use interests. Red kites are primarily scavengers in Scotland, although they will also take some live prey including voles, other small mammals and birds. The Black Isle population of red kites in Scotland has suffered in particular from illegal persecution. In 2012 there were only 52 pairs laying eggs in the Black Isle area, whereas by comparison the Chilterns population in the south of England (which involved release of the same initial number of birds, and the established populations have similar productivity), now stands at between 900 and 1000 breeding pairs. 

3 comments to Red Kites in Dumfries and Galloway, Scotland reach 100 chicks produced.

  • Where is the evidence that red kites are primarily scavengers in Scotland?


    Editor’s Comment. Smiffy, what evidence do you have that they are not?

  • Never said they were not! But I’d like the writer of the above statement to substantiate it. It’s a fair question!

    Editor’s Comment. David it’s a fair question. All the scientific papers and text books written about Red Kites tell us that they feed upon small animals, worms and dead carcasses, often those killed by vehicles. We are not denying they would not kill other animals or birds but they are not known for attacking other larger prey items larger for example than a small rat or rabbit.

  • Thanks Ed, so not necessarily primary a scavenger in Scotland.