Milvus milvus 

Scope: Europe
Language: English

Translate page into:

Taxonomy [top]

Kingdom Phylum Class Order Family
Animalia Chordata Aves Accipitriformes Accipitridae

Scientific Name: Milvus milvus (Linnaeus, 1758)
Regional Assessments:
Common Name(s):
English Red Kite
French Milan royal
Spanish Milano Real
Taxonomic Source(s): Cramp, S. and Simmons, K.E.L. (eds). 1977-1994. Handbook of the birds of Europe, the Middle East and Africa. The birds of the western Palearctic. Oxford University Press, Oxford.
Taxonomic Notes: Milvus milvus (Sibley and Monroe 1990, 1993) was split into M. milvus and M. fasciicauda by Hazevoet (1995), but for reasons given in Johnson et al. (2005) this treatment has not been adopted by the BirdLife Taxonomic Working Group.

Assessment Information [top]

Red List Category & Criteria: Near Threatened (Regional assessment) ver 3.1
Year Published: 2015
Date Assessed: 2015-03-31
Assessor(s): BirdLife International
Reviewer(s): Symes, A.
Facilitator/Compiler(s): Ashpole, J, Burfield, I., Ieronymidou, C., Pople, R., Wheatley, H. & Wright, L
European regional assessment: Near Threatened (NT)
EU27 regional assessment: Near Threatened (NT)

This European near-endemic raptor is undergoing moderately rapid population declines in the three core range states, Germany, Spain and France, and despite recoveries in many smaller populations it therefore warrants classification as Near Threatened in both Europe and the EU27.

Geographic Range [top]

Range Description:This is very much a European species (Hagemeijer and Blair 1997). It breeds from Spain and Portugal east through central Europe to Ukraine, north to southern Sweden, Latvia and the U.K., and south to southern Italy. Populations winter within the western breeding range, and formerly in isolated patches south and east to eastern Turkey (Knott et al. 2009).
Countries occurrence:
Albania; Andorra; Austria; Azerbaijan; Belarus; Belgium; Bosnia and Herzegovina; Bulgaria; Croatia; Czech Republic; Denmark; France; Germany; Gibraltar; Hungary; Italy; Latvia; Liechtenstein; Lithuania; Luxembourg; Macedonia, the former Yugoslav Republic of; Moldova; Montenegro; Netherlands; Poland; Portugal; Romania; Russian Federation (European Russia); Serbia; Slovakia; Slovenia; Spain (Canary Is. - Vagrant); Sweden; Switzerland; Turkey; Ukraine; United Kingdom
Possibly extinct:
Armenia; Cyprus; Estonia; Finland; Georgia; Iceland; Ireland; Malta; Norway
Additional data:
Continuing decline in area of occupancy (AOO):Unknown
Extreme fluctuations in area of occupancy (AOO):NoEstimated extent of occurrence (EOO) - km2:1750000
Continuing decline in extent of occurrence (EOO):UnknownExtreme fluctuations in extent of occurrence (EOO):No
Continuing decline in number of locations:Unknown
Extreme fluctuations in the number of locations:No
Upper elevation limit (metres):800
Range Map:22695072-1

Population [top]

Population:The European population is estimated at 25,200-33,400 pairs, which equates to 50,400-66,800 mature individuals. The population in the EU27 is estimated at 24,000-31,900 pairs, which equates to 48,000-63,700 mature individuals. For details of national estimates, see the Supplementary Material.

Trend Justification:  In Europe and the EU27 the population size is estimated to be decreasing at a rate approaching 30% in 34.5 years (three generations). For details of national estimates, see attached PDF.
For further information about this species, see 22695072_milvus_milvus.pdf.
A PDF viewer such as Adobe Reader is required.
Current Population Trend:Decreasing
Additional data:
Number of mature individuals:50400-66800,58000Continuing decline of mature individuals:Yes
Extreme fluctuations:NoPopulation severely fragmented:No
No. of subpopulations:2-100Continuing decline in subpopulations:Unknown
Extreme fluctuations in subpopulations:NoAll individuals in one subpopulation:No

Habitat and Ecology [top]

Habitat and Ecology:The species breeds in broadleaf woodlands and forests, mixed with farmland, pasture and heathland. In winter it also occupies farmland without trees, wasteland, scrub and wetlands. Formerly an urban scavenger, it still visits the edges of towns and cities. Eggs are laid between March and May. The nest is a platform of sticks, often with rags or plastic incorporated, and normally lined with wool. It is built in a fork or on a wide side branch of a tree (coniferous or broadleaf), in forests, woods or clump of trees. Each pair normally has several nests, using the same one each year or alternating. Clutches range between one to four eggs, normally two but sometimes three. It takes a wide range of food, but feeds mainly on carrion and small to medium-sized mammals and birds. Reptiles, amphibians and invertebrates are less important prey. Most birds in north-east Europe are migratory, wintering mainly in southern France and Iberia, but with some travelling as far as Africa (Orta and Christie 2013). Migrants travel south from their breeding grounds between August and November, returning between February and April (Snow and Perrins 1998). Birds are usually seen singly or in pairs, but sometimes form small flocks, possibly family groups, when soaring on migration (Ferguson-Lees and Christie 2001).
Continuing decline in area, extent and/or quality of habitat:Unknown
Generation Length (years):11.50
Movement patterns:Full Migrant

Threats [top]

Major Threat(s): The most pertinent threat to this species is illegal direct poisoning to kill predators of livestock and game animals (targeting foxes, wolves, corvids etc.) and indirect poisoning from pesticides and secondary poisoning from consumption of poisoned rodents by rodenticides spread on farmland to control vole plagues, particularly in the wintering ranges in France and Spain, where it is driving rapid population declines (A. Aebischer in litt. 2009); there is a strong correlation between rapid declines and those populations that winter in Spain (Carter 2007). The Spanish government released more than 1,500 tons of rodenticide-treated baits over about 500,000 ha to fight against a common vole plague in agricultural lands between August 2007 and April 2008; records of Red Kites dying by secondary poisoning in treated areas resulted (J. Vinuela in litt. 2009). Illegal poisoning is also a serious threat to the species in north Scotland, with 40% of birds found dead between 1989 and 2006 having been killed by poisoning (Smart et al. 2010). In France populations disappeared at the same rate as conversion from grasslands to cereal crops (P. Tourret in litt. 2009). The decline of grazing livestock and farming intensification leading to chemical pollution, homogenization of landscapes and ecological impoverishment also threatens the species (Knott et al. 2009). Wind turbines are a potentially serious future threat (Duchamp 2003, Mammen et al. 2009, P. Tourret in litt. 2009) and more research needs to be conducted to assess the level of threat windfarms pose to the species. Other less significant threats include electrocution and collision with powerlines (Mionnet 2007, P. Tourret in litt. 2009), hunting and trapping (Mionnet 2007, P. Tourret in litt. 2009), road-kills, deforestation, egg-collection (on a local scale) and possibly competition with the generally more successful Black Kite (Milvus migrans) (Cardiel in litt. 2000, Ferguson-Lees et al. 2001, Cardiel and Viñuela 2007, Mammen 2007). Another factor implicated in the declines in France and Spain is a decrease in the number of rubbish dumps (Cardiel and Viñuela 2007, Mionnet 2007).

Conservation Actions [top]

Conservation Actions: Conservation Actions Underway
CMS Appendix II. CITES Appendix II. Annex II Bern Convention. The species is on Annex I of the EU Birds Directive and is the focus of close monitoring and targeted conservation actions across most of its range, including reintroduction to parts of the U.K. since 1989 (English Nature 1995, RSPB 2007). Since 2007, further reintroduction projects are aiming to re-establish the species in Tuscany and in the Marche (Italy), the Republic of Ireland and Northern Ireland - the first breeding attempt in the Republic was recorded in 2009. An EU species action plan for the Red Kite was published in 2009 (Knott et al. 2009). National species action plans are in place in Germany, France, the Balearic Islands and Denmark, and a draft national action plan is in place in Portugal. Ongoing research in Germany aims to examine further the impact of windfarms on the breeding population of this species. In 2007, for the first time, three young birds in France were fitted with satellite transmitters, although only one provided regular information (Mionnet 2007). In Spain, radio-tracking was carried out in Segovia in 2006-2007.

Conservation Actions Proposed
Continue to monitor population trends and breeding productivity. Continue to manage reintroduction projects. Regulate the use of pesticides, especially in France and Spain. Reduce persecution through law enforcement, prosecutions and awareness campaigns. Carry out further studies into the impact of changing land-use practices. Lobby for changes in EU and national agricultural policies. Increase the area of suitable woodland and forest with protected status. Work with land-owners to protect habitat and prevent persecution. Consider extending supplementary feeding to more areas of low food availability. Ensure national legislation on animal by-products takes into account the needs of scavengers. Promote control on feeding stations to be compliant with sanitary regulations.

Citation: BirdLife International. 2015. Milvus milvus. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species 2015: e.T22695072A60114427. . Downloaded on 18 July 2018.
Disclaimer: To make use of this information, please check the <Terms of Use>.
Feedback: If you see any errors or have any questions or suggestions on what is shown on this page, please provide us with feedback so that we can correct or extend the information provided