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Feeding Habits

Kite feeding in flight Kite feeding in flight (c) John Griffin
  • General : A very wide and varied diet
  • Scavenging : Carrion particularly important in the winter. Will feed on dead mammals and occasionally fish
  • Predation : Only actively predates small mammals, birds and invertebrates. Rabbits, rats and mice commonly taken. Main bird species taken are juvenile crows. Invertebrates can be very important.
  • Kleptoparasitism : Will rob other birds of their prey. Particularly crows and similar sized birds of prey.

The Red Kites long wings and tail make it ideally suited to soaring for long periods of time. Its main hunting techniques therefore involves soaring over the landscape in search of slow moving or immobile prey. The kite is not well equipped for fast flying and does not spend much time actively hunting other birds. While the kite is not a particularly fast flier it is extremely agile. This allows it to steal prey from other birds. Crows are often the target of this but they will also steal from other birds of prey including buzzards, ospreys and even eagles. Kites may also spend time on the ground, walking around in bare fields or short grass in search of prey.