Population of the Black Kite in SW Northumberland

Updates during season at https://twitter.com/NickRossiter4 for both Red Kite and Black Kite.

BACKGROUND

The Black Kite Milvus migrans is an abundant breeder in parts of Europe, particularly the south. However, it has not colonised the UK although some birds are seen each year, mainly in the spring. There has been recent speculation that the Black Kite will colonise the UK as for instance in Country Life: The black kite is set to breed in the UK for the first time: It's all down to the warmer weather https://www.countryliving.com/uk/wildlife/countryside/a28743094/black-kite-bird-uk/. On the edge of their ranges the Black Kite and Red Kite will indulge in mixed pairings, giving confused plumages and data. Dick Forsman in his book Flight Identification of Raptors (2016) deals with the issue on p.114 Identifying Hybrids between Black Kite and Red Kite. He notes that hybrid pairing has been proven in Sweden and Germany and young can be reared, giving the possibility of back-crosses in later years. Hybrid and intergrade Black x Red Kites can be highly variable. First generation hybrids are often clearly intermediate between, featuring characters from both parents while later generation back-crosses may approach either parent type so it is a complex situation.

A hybrid pair was confirmed as breeding in Scotland in 2006, producing 2 chicks. “The male black kite was seen in the Highlands each year from 2002 to 2004, and was spotted with a female red kite in 2005, though they did not breed. In 2006 when the black kite turned up in exactly the same location in April and in June it appeared to be mated and was seen carrying food to a nest with a different female red kite from the previous year. The 'unique' hatching of two hybrid chicks at a secret location in the Highlands last year [2006] was monitored by experts from the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds (RSPB). Brian Etheridge added: The black kite male has not been sighted this year [2007] as far as I'm aware. We remain optimistic. The bird can be quite elusive when it wants to be.” https://www.scotsman.com/news/first-uk-black-and-red-kites-produce-two-young-2511048.

The emerging Red Kite population in southern Northumberland is a spin-off from the Gateshead reintroduction programme, where birds were obtained for release from successful nests in the Chilterns, which in turn came originally from Spain. Northern Kites released 20 kites in 2004, 41 kites in 2005 and 33 kites in 2006. 11 kites were born in the northeast in 2007, 10 of which have been wing-tagged. 22 kites were born in the northeast in 2008, 11 of which have been wing-tagged. Since then the Red Kite has become established as a breeder with, in Durham, 44 chicks fledged in 2021 from 20 successful nests with 6 unsuccessful nests https://friendsofredkites.org.uk/2021-breeding-summary and, in Northumberland, from this study (by NR) 28 broods (minimum 44 young fledged) at a total of 56 localities in 2021 http://nickrossiter.org.uk/hbweb/northumberlandrk.html. So we do have in the North-East a viable population of Red Kite.

SEASONAL MOVEMENTS

As its Latin name indicates the Black Kite is a migrant in Europe, arriving and leaving earlier than Honey-buzzard. For instance in 2021 124 were noted on BirdGuides with 2 in March, 22 in April, 49 in May, 29 in June, 11 in July, 8 in August, 3 in September. So most records were in spring with only small numbers noted in late summer and autumn. Another year was chosen to give more perspective – 2011; this had a higher total of 256 with 6 in February,1 in March, 33 in April, 43 in May, 22 in June, 22 in July, 69 in August, 60 in September; many of the records in August and September came from repeat sightings in Cornwall. Clearly more study is needed here but April-June seems to see the major influx of potentially breeding birds over-shooting their territories. Black Kite avoid long water crossings in their movements so the Channel is an obstacle to their arrival here.

NR's RESULTS

All the data in Table 1 refers to the study area in south west Northumberland, with survey work done by NR.



Year

Number of localities where signs of occupation

Number of pure Black Kite pair

Number of hybrid Black Kite x Red Kite pair

Number of Black Kite adult

Number of associating Red Kite adult

Number of pure Black Kite juvenile

Number of Black Kite x Red Kite juvenile

Total broods

Total young fledged

2020

1

0

1

1

1

0

2

1

2 (1x2)

2021

3

1

2

4

2

2

4

3

6 (3x2)

Table 1: Numbers of breeding Black Kite found from 2020-2021 in SW Northumberland

More details of the Black Kite breeding season for 2020 are available in Table 2.1:

Area

No. sites

No. adult Black Kite

No. adult associating Red Kite

No. pure Black Kite juvenile

No. hybrid Black kite x Red Kite juvenile

Breeding Category

No. Juveniles fledged

Post-breeding sites

Conf

Prob

Poss

Devil’s Water

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

1

Allen

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

Upper South Tyne

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

Lower South Tyne

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

Tyne Valley W

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

Tyne Valley E

1

1

1

0

2

1

0

0

2

0

Derwent

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

Total

1

1

1

0

2

1

0

0

2 (1x2)

1

Table 2.1: Breeding Data for Black Kite in SW Northumberland by area in 2020


This was a sensational find, thought initially to be a lingering migrant but the Black Kite adult stayed the whole season, present from at least 15/6-11/8. He appeared to be the male in a relationship with a female Red Kite, producing two hybrid juveniles, both intermediate in appearance to the two kite species. In structure they were closer to Red Kite but at least one had a protruding P5; in plumage both were darker than Red Kite. At the end of the season finding two apparently pure Black Kite moving SW over my house at Ordley on 20/8 suggested that perhaps the Black Kite was finally colonising the UK. On BirdGuides there was a report of two Black Kite juveniles moving west at Wheldrake, North Yorks on 2/8/20; they were photographed. So 2020 does see a step-up in Black Kite breeding activity.



More details of the Black Kite breeding season for 2021 are available in Table 2.2:





Area

No. sites

No. adult Black Kite

No. adult associating Red Kite

No. pure Black Kite juvenile

No. hybrid Black kite x Red Kite juvenile

Breeding Category

No. Juveniles fledged

Post-breeding sites

Conf

Prob

Poss

Devil’s Water

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

Allen

1

1

1

0

2

1

0

0

2

0

Upper South Tyne

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

Lower South Tyne

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

Tyne Valley W

1

2

0

2

0

1

0

0

2

2

Tyne Valley E

1

1

1

0

2

1

0

0

2

0

Derwent

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

Total

3

4

2

2

4

3

0

0

6 (3x2)

2


Table 2.2: Breeding Data for Black Kite in SW Northumberland by area in 2021


The central expectation for 2021 was that the Black Kite would return and breed again at Prudhoe with the Red Kite. In fact 4 Black Kite were located, 2 at Bywell and singles at Prudhoe and Sinderhope. The 2 at Bywell were a pure pair while the singles were each paired with Red Kite. Each of the pairs produced 2 young, 2 pure Black Kite juveniles at Bywell and 2 hybrid Black Kite x Red Kite at the other 2 sites. Two of the hybrid young were close to Black Kite in structure and plumage, the other 2 looked superficially like Red Kite but had darker plumage and broader wings including protruding P5. Further there were 2 sightings of Black Kite in the Hexham area in late August, which may be wandering dispersing birds or precursor to colonisation next year.



Multimedia and Notes for Black Kite and associating Red Kite in S Northumberland:


2021


Swallowship 26/08/2021:


This kite was dark-plumaged, fairly uniform, with protruding P5 (6 fingered primaries) and short-tailed but it's jizz was more Red Kite; think it's quite possibly the same bird as at Tyne Green (2.5km away) on 24/8; the kite eventually drifted off N towards the Tyne; put it down as an adult Black Kite 1  2  3  4  5  6  7. See protruding P5 on 1. Black Kite was in view from 15:41-15:45. Here's the habitat with views over the Devil's Water and the Tyne. There was some interaction between the female Honey-buzzard and the Black Kite as she tried to see the kite off the premises 8  9  10 (11096). See fork on 8.

Hexham Tyne Green 24/08/2021:

Star of the day was a Black Kite adult, yes another one, picked up in the Hermitage near the road bridge over the Tyne at 15:18 (habitat here 1). It was gliding around the top of the trees overlooking the river 2  3  4, before disappearing out of sight to N; it reappeared some way to the N, climbed quickly as is their manner, and disappeared purposefully downstream to E. Think it's a migrant, not bred here, but gives an idea for a new site for next year; it's presumably a Scottish-bred bird.

Sinderhope 21/08/2021:

Have just received images from an East Allen birdwatcher from Sinderhope which I think may show another hybrid Black Kite x Red Kite, this time leaning towards Red Kite but with shallow fork and darker plumage than usual. So there may have been a brood of 2, one closer to Black Kite, the other closer to Red Kite.

Reply to Neil Russell who asked whether the bird photographed was a Buzzard or a Red Kite: “Your bird is certainly not a Buzzard but it's not pure Red Kite either with the tail fork being slight, P5 (5th primary) being long and some dark areas in the plumage. So I wonder whether it's a mixed Red Kite x Black Kite hybrid. I've seen one juvenile at this site this month looking much more like the Black Kite parent with which it was associating and on 14/8 I saw a typical Red Kite adult. They often raise 2 young so this could be another juvenile of the year, which I missed. It's also possible it's an older bird from a previous mixed pairing.“ Pictures are here: 1  2  3  4  5  6.

Sinderhope 14/08/2021:

The kite were the most difficult, finally catching up with a solitary adult Red Kite perched on a field at 12:51 1 with an attendant LBBG adult eating some tasty titbit! So no Black Kite; situation may be the same as the Tyne Valley E site this year with a mixed pairing, producing a youngster who looks and behaves more like a Black Kite; so the Black Kite parent (not sure of gender in this case, from behaviour) has departed for Africa with the youngster leaving the Red Kite adult behind, possibly with another young. That makes 1 pure pair and 2 mixed pairs: still open to closer look at piccies and more research on mixed pairings! Whatever it's an exciting situation!

Prudhoe 12/08/2021:

85 min of Black Kite hunting, which was instantly successful with the Black Kite presumed male taking junior for a testing training flight, soaring high and gliding around the site with great energy from 10:33-10:36; the young bird clearly thinks it's a Black Kite and looks like one but its mother is thought to be a Red Kite who later came up and displayed on her own from 11:04-11:14 over the site. The Black Kite were briefly joined by the male Honey-buzzard from the local site at 10:34 and 11:04 1  2 and the Red Kite was joined by the female Honey-buzzard at 11:14 3 (11076).

Think the Black Kite, adult and hybrid juvenile, are ready for departure to Africa; they look frisky and strong! Behaviour-wise when on own the hybrid juvenile liked hanging with head peering down rather like a Red Kite but tail much shorter and not nearly so forked. The hybrid juvenile shows a relatively short tail (0.9 of wing width), quite a pale back and tail, dark primaries, paler at base of primaries, banded tail, moderately protruding P5 with P8 and P10 still growing, a pale head with dark eye spot, a tail square when open and slightly forked when closed, head small, neck flexible, bill fine, less robust than adult 1  2  3  4  5  6. The adult Black Kite was a more uniform black colour with moult on secondaries and on outer primaries, looking like growing P7, P10 with protruding P5 7  8  9  10, last with a juvenile Common Buzzard. Here's adult + juvenile Black Kite together 11  12  13  14  15  16  17. Another flight of the Black Kite and hybrid was from 10:42-10:47 and at 11:07 and 11:14, last 2 meaning all 3 kite were up briefly together in the sky but the presumed female Red Kite was on her own, showing very long clearly-forked tail and more elegant appearance 1  2  3  4  5  6  7  8  9  10  11  12  13  14  15. The juvenile hybrid seen here on 20/7 is more like a Red Kite and hence a different bird; it was presumably in cover below the adult Red Kite. So this is a repeat of the 2020 breeding season here with two Black Kite x Red Kite raised; the Black Kite is assumed to be the male because of the role he plays in defending the territory.

Bywell 10/08/2021: picked up 4 Black Kite from 16:55-17:31 (pair and 2 juvenile, each adult taking one juvenile in hand, very energetic training programme for the young)

adult 1: streamlined, black body, dark brown head and neck, wings darker on primaries than on inner wing, pale primary bases underneath, dark trailing edge and carpal, obviously forked tail with pale underside, yellow cere, left-wing complete with P5 prominent but maybe broken off, right-wing P10-P7, P6 missing, P5 protruding present, broad wing-tip, 1  2  3  4 (5 with Common Buzzard juvenile) 6  7  8.

adult 2: streamlined but heavier than other adult, black body and head, wings uniformly dark on top, dusky underneath with pale primary bases, dark trailing edge and carpal, obviously forked tail, yellow cere, left-wing P10-P8, P7 missing, P6, P5 protruding, right-wing not captured, broad wing-tip, 9  10  11  12  13.

adult 1 with juvenile 1: 14  15  16  17  18

juvenile 1: black primaries, paler brown inner wings and body, floating weakly, forked and barred tail, white under-tail coverts, white vent area, shorter wings and tail than adult, palish head, broad wing-tip, subterminal tail band 19  20 (21 with Common Buzzard juvenile) (22  23  24 with male Honey-buzzard 11075)

juvenile 2: black primaries, paler brown inner wings and body, stronger flier, forked tail, dark wings and body, pale primary bases underneath, similar dimensions to adult, white head with head showing hint of mask, dusky end to tail, broad wing-tip but primary tips poorly developed 25 (26 with Common Buzzard juvenile) 27  28  29  30..



Sinderhope 05/08/2021:

The Black Kite situation may be complex, in the East Allen another mixed pair with Red Kite possibly found on 5/8. Here are some piccies – adult coming into site from E off the moors at 14:30 1  2  3  4  5  6; juvenile coming quickly out again at 14:34 and moving NE towards the moors 7  8  9  10  11  12  13  14  15  16  17. The fork is slight, P5 is long and the plumage is dark, giving an overall Black Kite feel but the juvenile is slender with long tail, features associated with Red Kite. The juvenile has immaculate fresh plumage; the adult has worn and moulted feathers. The jizz of Black Kite is very characteristic: powerful flight with ability to gain height incredibly quickly without ponderous soaring; also ability to move fast around the territory and scan the whole area from high above; the 2 juvenile of mixed parentage are more like Black Kite jizz-wise. A follow-up visit on 14/8 to the East Allen found that the adult and juvenile Black Kite had gone and the site was tenanted by a sole adult Red Kite (still to be fully analysed). Have just received images from an East Allen birdwatcher from Sinderhope which I think may show another hybrid Black Kite x Red Kite, this time leaning towards Red Kite but with shallow fork and darker plumage than usual. So there may have been a brood of 2, one closer to Black Kite, the other closer to Red Kite.


Bywell 26/07/2021:

Had Black Kite adult soaring on arrival 1, then gliding down to N and coming back SE into nesting area 14:10-14:11, where the juvenile could be seen crouched under the canopy perched on a branch at 14:32 2  3  4, obviously becoming a little wiser to the ways of the world; a Red Kite juvenile was hunting to E at 14:32, floating low-down close to the Black Kite juvenile 5  6  7  8.

Prudhoe 20/07/2021:

From my regular vantage point saw 2 Honey-buzzard, female and male, up from the kite breeding-area, soaring above site and quickly coming down again; female: 12:36-12:37, 12:45, 12:51-12:56, male: 12:55 (pair up together), 13:01-13:02 with a Red Kite adult far to E at Bradley Hall at 12:22, circling low-down, and 4 Common Buzzard – adult + juvenile towards Bradley Hall 12:55, juvenile in local wood at 13:04-13:12 (perched and in flight) and juvenile W of Durham Riding at 13:36. The Honey-buzzard activity did rouse the Black Kite; the kite was up briefly 1  2 (protruding P5 in 2) with the female Honey-buzzard at 12:37, moving above her in an attempt to show territorial superiority. No other sightings of the local kite so decided to go for a walk around the wood, always a good tactic with raptors as their curiosity means that they like to get up and keep an eye on you! Made S extreme of wood and cut back on footpath, reaching a clearing and there way above me were adult Red Kite 3 and adult Black Kite 4 (blurred) slowly gliding overhead at 13:53-13:55. Got back to field and there at 14:11 through a gap in the trees could see a very weak-flying juvenile kite momentarily above the canopy before going down again. Have got one snap at range 5: the juvenile appears to have a Red Kite tail (red, long and thin, but fork not assessable), Black Kite wing shape (relatively broad, slightly protruding P5), Black Kite underwing (dark) and a mixture plumage-wise, being a dark ruddy-brown on what was viewed at the time and the piccie. Will obviously come back but great to see the progress!

Bywell 18/07/2021:

Today Black Kite proven to breed in SW Northumberland with freshly-fledged juvenile out on the branches late afternoon, mobbed by a Kestrel from time to time. Here's a short clip https://vimeo.com/576527319 of the juvenile, mobbed by the Kestrel, which had family in the area, probably 2 adult + 2 juvenile. The Black Kite occupied several different perches at 16:34-16:36, 17:15-17:30 and 17:40-17:41, not far apart in distance, under pressure from the Kestrel. It perched right out in the open, giving good chance for photographs. It was a jaunty, cocky bird, seemingly undaunted by its new surroundings. It was keen on facing SE, so maybe its parents bring in food from the Merryshields GP/River Tyne area. Last year had a mixed Black Kite x Red Kite pair, fledging one young; this year that mixed pair is still ongoing but at today's site, studied since the spring, both adults were Black Kite. This could be first confirmed breeding in the UK but sure they bred last year somewhere N of the 'Shire as had 2 juvenile moving SW on 20/8 at Ordley. Numbers recorded in UK are increasing rapidly and now go right through the breeding season. Here are some cropped stills of the perched juvenile 1  2  3  4  5  6  7  8  9  10  11  12  13  14.

3 shows the pale head with dark line across it and closely barred tail, 6 shows dark mask on white head, 8 shows forked tail with T6 (outermost left-hand tail feather) longer than T5, which is in turn longer than T4, 10 shows the finely barred tail with 7 bars on exposed part and paler endings than in adults (Cieślak & Dal (2006 p.77) say 9-11 bars on whole of tail), 13 shows square tail when spread. As this a very young bird, proportional feather sizes have to be taken with some caution. This bird will be off to Africa in a few weeks.

Prudhoe 11/07/2021:

When I left I was soaked but went on to Prudhoe Dukeshagg from 13:15-13:40 where had a Black Kite returning to its nesting area in flap-flap-glide mode as the rain arrived at 13:30 (no piccies unfortunately). I stayed another 40 min, sitting in the car, to see if it would clear but it didn't so back to Hexham, where it was now just overcast,

Bywell 22/06/21:

Finally at 14:11 had a Black Kite in the vicinity of the Tyne, slightly to the W of Bywell Castle, foraging over the area, before drifting slowly N towards me 1  2

Bywell 07/06/2021:

A Black Kite and a female Honey-buzzard appearing below the Red Kite, close to the canopy, at 12:08, a Black Kite up at 12:20 with Common Buzzard briefly seen, Black Kite up again at 12:27 with a male Honey-buzzard flying through the tree-tops low into the site 1  2  3

Prudhoe 27/05/2021:

The local Red Kite was sharing a territory with a Black Kite, which were up together at 12:48; the Red Kite disappeared back into the wood but the Black Kite 1  2  3  4 (note forked tail and long P5 in 4), presumed male, was up in contention with the female Honey-buzzard at 13:51 5 and from 14:28-14:29; this appears to be the same mixed pairing as last year.

Bywell 25/05/2021:

a Common Buzzard up at 16:35 briefly with another raptor holding territory (Black Kite 1  2)

Bywell 18/05/2021:

another Red Kite was up in contention with a pair of displaying Black Kite at 14:18 1  2, which I think is colonising Britain, particularly northern England and Scotland; note the shallow fork and more robust appearance; their jizz is also much more robust.

2020

Prudhoe 26/08/2020:

The Honey-buzzard was also briefly investigated by a dark kite at 16:18, presumed hybrid offspring of the Black Kite x Red Kite pairing (cropped image here). This dark kite does appear not to be migrating but who knows what it will do as winter approaches. This juvenile is the more elegant of the two reared, with a near Red Kite structure.

Ordley 20/08/2020:

Looked at piccies from yesterday [20/8] and amazed to see that the 2 juveniles soaring high and going S at Ordley were both juvenile Black Kite. They must have spent the night in the Devil's Water on migration from further N, maybe Scotland. It looks as if we have a significant Black Kite UK colonisation this year with the mixed pair at Prudhoe and 'two juveniles photographed this morning moving west over Swantail' at Wheldrake, North Yorks, on 02/08/20 [BirdGuides]. The first kite came up at 12:31, rapidly gaining height and drifting S until at 12:34 it was into the cloud base and lost to sight 1  2  3  4  5  6  7  8  9. The second kite came up at 12:35 and was lost to sight much sooner as it attempted to catch its companion 10  11  12. Only piccies 1 and 9 show clear field features; piccie 13 shows both pictures in one frame. They are not locally reared. To match the style of piccies adopted for 2021, here are some cropped images 14  15  16  17  18  19  20.

Prudhoe 11/08/2020:

Around 13:00 when dashed off E to Prudhoe for another look at the kites and a check on the Honey-buzzard with none seen (10069); max 23C, light E breeze. Latter were true to form, no sightings from 13:55-15:45, invisible just before fledging! Kites were more fun. Firstly at 14:19 had a very dark bird soar high, possibly emigrating, think this was a Black Kite, probably an adult, either exiting or going off to hunt; have since (20/8, Ordley) seen Black Kite juvenile locally with obvious white circle on base of outer primaries. The bird today looked uniformly dark 1  2 with cropped piccie 1 here. Secondly at 15:10 had a very clean dark ruddy juvenile with elegant structure flapping through the trees and staying there (not photographed unfortunately); this last attended loosely at first by another juvenile considered to be a Black Kite x Red Kite hybrid, doing extensive tour of farmland to NW from 15:13-15:21. This hybrid looked a bit dishevelled. Some of its primaries were still growing; it has a long P5 on its left wing, typical of Black Kite and a long tail with deep fork, light-rufous in colour, fairly conspicuous buff panel across forewing, typical of Red Kite juvenile. So feeling here is we have a mixed Black Kite (male) x Red Kite (female) pairing which has raised two juveniles, one with Red Kite structure and dark plumage, the other with Red Kite tail, Black Kite primary formula with broad wingtip and long P5. This bird is not the same as the Red Kite adult on 8/7 here; that had fingers on 5 primary tips, a brighter panel, lighter plumage in general, and mostly longer fingers. Here's cropped images for the hybrid: 1  2  3  4  5.

Prudhoe 26/07/20:

Also had a Black Kite over the usual site for a few seconds at 16:22 when a small plane flew over the wood – that's par for the course! 2 juvenile Kestrel again hunted over the cleared hayfield and 2 Common Buzzard, adult and juvenile, were up to the N over Prudhoe E where a Red Kite adult was also seen in the air at 17:10.

Prudhoe 18/07/20:

A Red Kite close-up over a cut hayfield at 17:09 (see piccie below) and just as walking out at 17:27 the Black Kite came up as a Common Buzzard flew over the kite nesting area. Last time the Black Kite came up to challenge 2 LBBG so maybe need a drone to fly over! Taking parallels with Honey-buzzard behaviour the Black Kite part of the pair is presumed to be the male as he soars high over the nesting area from time to time and hangs there, watching over the nest. The Red Kite keeps much closer to the nest and performs active defence at close quarters so the Red Kite is the female part of the pair 1  2 with crop of piccie 1 here. This comparison is surely valid: the Honey-buzzard is more of a kite than a buzzard. Did have some kite calls as walked up the road fairly close to the site at 15:48. The Red Kite after surveying the hayfield did return to the area the Black Kite was guarding.

Prudhoe 08/07/20:

The light was very poor for the Prudhoe trip from 15:55-17:10 but visit was very rewarding, strongly indicating that there's a mixed pairing of an adult Red Kite up at 16:28 hanging over a wood 1  2  3  4  5  6 with cropped piccie 3 here and an adult Black Kite up at 16:18 hanging over same area 1  2  3  4  5 with cropped piccie 1 here (as in Scotland a while back) and up low-down anxiously at 16:38 as 2 LBBG flew over.

Prudhoe 23/06/20:

Amazingly the Black Kite was still present but was now up over Dukeshagg; it first appeared at 12:56 over a recently-cut hayfield on W side of Dukeshagg 1  2  3  4  5  6  7  8  9  10; not sure it's breeding, either with another Black Kite or a Red Kite, the latter having been recorded before in Scotland; it's a very strident bird, moving powerfully over the hills in a very commanding manner, even making Honey-buzzard look sluggish; see clip taken at 13:26 where it appears with a pair of Common Buzzard; here's derived stills 11  12  13  14  15  16  17  18  19 of Black Kite from the clip, including a cropped copy of 13; the Black Kite seems to have a knack of rousing other raptors; here's the Honey-buzzard male up again from 13:20-13:30 7  8  9  10 (10048); did study many Black Kite closely in SW France last July and the behaviour seems right, looking slightly more compact and robust than Red Kite; think it's an adult bird as uniformly dark with no pale feather edges; the moult seems early but anything can happen with birds out of place! To match the style of piccies adopted for 2021, here are some cropped images of the Black Kite from the stills 1  2  3  4  5  6  7  8  9  10; the last also shows a a male Honey-buzzard (10048).

Hyons Wood (near Prudhoe) 15/06/20:

On further study the Red Kite was an adult, floating constantly high-up above the other 2 raptors (Black Kite, Honey-buzzard) from 16:45-16:47. The Honey-buzzard, a female, was up very briefly, only noted in one burst at 16:47, below both the Black Kite and the Red Kite 1  2  3 (10045). The Black Kite, present from 16:45-16:47, hanged over the E end of the wood with Red Kite above and Honey-buzzard female briefly below. The Black Kite was in primary moult on both wings, missing middle primaries; it had a pale head and underside of tail but otherwise looked uniformly dark; its long narrow tail was only slightly forked; the outer wing appears narrow because of the moulted middle primaries 1  2  3  4  5  6  7  8  9  10  11  12; a few piccies include the Red Kite flying above the Black Kite 13  14  15  16. Like any kite its ability to hang was great and effortless. To match the style of piccies adopted for 2021, here are some cropped images of the Black Kite on its own 1  2  3  4  5  6  7  8  9  10 and with Red Kite 11  12  13  14.



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