It is a European species which is resident in the milder parts of its range, but birds from northern and central Europe winter further south and west. In the United Kingdom, the Welsh population has been supplemented by re-introductions in England and Scotland.
In the Middle Ages, Red Kites were much more widespread, their scavenging habits making them the refuse collectors of the day, but their numbers have much decreased through illegal persecution and poisoning. They will take small live prey as well as carrion, and will rob other birds.
The Red Kite is an elegant bird, soaring with long wings held at a dihedral, and long forked tail twisting as it changes direction.
The body, upper tail and wing coverts are rufous. The white primary flight feathers contrast with the black wing tips and dark secondaries.
This species nests in trees, often close to other kites. In winter, many kites will roost together.
See also Black Kite.