Black Kite Milvus migrans


Taxonomic note
Black Kite Milvus migrans (del Hoyo et al. 2014) has been split into M. migrans and Yellow-billed Kite M. aegyptius (Handbook of the Birds of the World and BirdLife International 2020). 

Yellow-billed Kite Milvus aegyptius (with subspecies parasitus) differs from M. migrans by its
• Yellow vs black bill (3);
• Dark vs pale iris in adult state (2);
• Head and nape concolorous with upper body vs pale grey streaked black, contrasting with dark brown mantle (2);
• Finer black streaking below (ns[2])
• Wing (from BWP2) male 423 (7.6; n9) vs 447 (10.5; n15), effect size 2.62 (2).

Some Arabian birds (treated as arabicus in some places but synonymised with aegyptius in the Checklist) show some features of migrans (Forsman 2016).

Taxonomic source(s)
Handbook of the Birds of the World and BirdLife International. 2020. Handbook of the Birds of the World and BirdLife International digital checklist of the birds of the world. Version 5. Available at:

IUCN Red list criteria met and history
Red List criteria met
Critically Endangered Endangered Vulnerable
- - -

Red List history
Year Category Criteria
2021 Least Concern
2020 Least Concern
Species attributes

Migratory status full migrant Forest dependency Low
Land mass type Average mass -

Estimate Data quality
Extent of Occurrence breeding/resident (km2) 115,653,659
Extent of Occurrence non-breeding (km2) 135,760,673
Number of locations -
Severely Fragmented -
Population and trend
Value Data quality Derivation Year of estimate
No. of mature individuals 4000000 - 5700000 poor suspected 2021
Population trend Stable suspected -
Decline (3 years/1 generation past) - - -
Decline (5 years/1 generation past) - - -
Decline (10 years/1 generation past) - - -
Decline (10 years/3 generation future) - - -
Decline (10 years/3 generation past and future) - - -
Number of subpopulations - - -
Percentage in largest subpopulation - - -
Generation length (yrs) 9.28 - - -

Population justification: In Europe, the breeding population is estimated to number 186,000-254,000 breeding pairs, equating to 372,000-507,000 mature individuals (BirdLife International in prep.). Europe forms approximately 9% of the global range, so a very preliminary estimate of the global population size is 4,100,000-5,600,000 mature individuals, although further validation of this estimate is needed. It is placed in the band 4,000,000-5,700,000 mature individuals.

Trend justification: Despite being possibly the most common raptor in the world, the population has declined owing to poisoning, shooting, pollution of water and over-use of pesticides. Modernisation of urban environments and agricultural improvements are also thought to be causing declines locally (Ferguson-Lees and Christie 2001). However, in Europe the current population trend is stable or increasing in the three countries with the largest populations (over 90% of the total in the European Union) (BirdLife International in prep.). Outside Europe the overall trend is suspected to be overall stable: it is stable in India (State of India's Birds 2020), and has been increasing in Australia (Global Raptor Information Network 2015), but suspected to be declining in China and possible elsewhere in Asia (Global Raptor Information Network 2015).

Country/territory distribution
Country/Territory Occurrence status Presence Resident Breeding Non-breeding Passage
Afghanistan N Extant Yes
Albania N Extant Yes
Algeria N Extant Yes
Angola N Extant Yes
Armenia N Extant Yes Yes
Australia N Extant Yes
Austria N Extant Yes
Azerbaijan N Extant Yes
Bahrain N Extant
Bangladesh N Extant Yes
Belarus N Extant Yes
Belgium N Extant Yes
Benin N Extant Yes
Bhutan N Extant Yes
Bosnia and Herzegovina N Extant Yes
Botswana N Extant Yes
Brunei N Extant Yes
Bulgaria N Extant Yes Yes
Burkina Faso N Extant Yes
Burundi N Extant Yes
Cambodia N Extant Yes
Cameroon N Extant Yes
Cape Verde V Extant
Central African Republic N Extant Yes
Chad N Extant Yes
China (mainland) N Extant Yes
Comoros N Extant Yes
Congo N Extant Yes
Congo, The Democratic Republic of the N Extant Yes
Côte d'Ivoire N Extant Yes
Croatia N Extant Yes
Czechia N Extant Yes
Denmark N Extant Yes
Djibouti N Extant Yes
Egypt N Extant Yes Yes
Equatorial Guinea N Extant Yes
Eritrea N Extant Yes
Estonia N Extant Yes
Eswatini N Extant Yes
Ethiopia N Extant Yes Yes
Finland N Extant Yes
France N Extant Yes Yes
Gabon N Extant Yes
Gambia N Extant Yes Yes
Georgia N Extant Yes Yes
Germany N Extant Yes Yes
Ghana N Extant Yes
Gibraltar (to UK) N Extant Yes
Greece N Extant Yes Yes
Guam (to USA) N Extant Yes
Guinea N Extant Yes
Guinea-Bissau N Extant Yes
Hungary N Extant Yes
Iceland V Extant
India N Extant Yes
Indonesia N Extant Yes
Iran, Islamic Republic of N Extant Yes Yes
Iraq N Extant Yes Yes
Ireland V Extant
Israel N Extant Yes Yes Yes
Italy N Extant Yes Yes
Japan N Extant Yes
Jordan N Extant Yes
Kazakhstan N Extant Yes
Kenya N Extant Yes
Kuwait N Extant Yes
Kyrgyzstan N Extant Yes
Laos N Extant Yes
Latvia N Extant Yes
Lebanon N Extant
Lesotho N Extant Yes
Liberia N Extant Yes
Libya N Extant Yes
Liechtenstein N Extant Yes
Lithuania N Extant Yes
Luxembourg N Extant Yes
Madagascar N Presence Uncertain Yes
Malawi N Extant Yes
Malaysia N Extant Yes
Mali N Extant Yes
Malta N Extant Yes
Mauritania N Extant Yes Yes
Mayotte (to France) N Extant Yes
Moldova N Extant Yes Yes
Mongolia N Extant Yes
Montenegro N Extant Yes
Morocco N Extant Yes
Mozambique N Extant Yes
Myanmar N Extant Yes
Namibia N Extant Yes
Nepal N Extant Yes
Netherlands N Extant Yes
Niger N Extant Yes
Nigeria N Extant Yes
North Korea N Extant Yes
North Macedonia N Extant Yes
Northern Mariana Islands (to USA) N Extant Yes
Norway V Extant
Oman N Extant
Pakistan N Extant Yes
Palau N Extant Yes
Palestine N Extant Yes
Papua New Guinea N Extant Yes
Philippines N Extant Yes
Poland N Extant Yes
Portugal N Extant Yes
Qatar N Extant Yes
Romania N Extant Yes Yes
Russia N Extant Yes
Russia (Asian) N Extant Yes
Russia (Central Asian) N Extant Yes
Russia (European) N Extant Yes
Rwanda N Extant Yes
São Tomé e Príncipe N Extant Yes
Saudi Arabia N Extant Yes Yes
Senegal N Extant Yes Yes
Serbia N Extant Yes
Seychelles V Extant
Sierra Leone N Extant Yes
Singapore N Extant Yes
Slovakia N Extant Yes
Slovenia N Extant Yes
Somalia N Extant Yes Yes
South Africa N Extant Yes
South Korea N Extant Yes
South Sudan N Extant Yes
Spain N Extant Yes Yes
Sri Lanka N Extant Yes
Sudan N Extant Yes Yes
Sweden N Extant Yes
Switzerland N Extant Yes
Syria N Extant Yes Yes
Taiwan, China N Extant Yes
Tajikistan N Extant Yes
Tanzania N Extant Yes
Thailand N Extant Yes
Timor-Leste N Extant Yes
Togo N Extant Yes
Tunisia N Extant Yes
Turkey N Extant Yes Yes
Turkmenistan N Extant Yes
Uganda N Extant Yes
Ukraine N Extant Yes Yes
United Arab Emirates N Extant Yes
United Kingdom V Extant
United States Minor Outlying Islands (to USA) V Extant
Uzbekistan N Extant Yes
Vietnam N Extant Yes
Western Sahara N Extant Yes
Yemen N Extant Yes Yes
Zambia N Extant Yes
Zimbabwe N Extant Yes

Important Bird and Biodiversity Areas (IBA)
Country/Territory IBA Name
Serbia Gornje Podunavlje
Serbia Bosutska forest
Serbia Carska bara
Serbia Koviljski rit
Serbia Obedska bara
Lithuania Lithuanian part of the Curonian Spit
Lithuania Initial area of Aukstaitija NP
Lithuania Kauno Marios water reservoir & eastern coastal zone
Slovenia River Drava
Moldova Royal Forest
Moldova Costești – Stânca Lake
Moldova Dniester River between Naslavcea - Soroca
Poland Swidwie Site
Poland Lower Odra river valley
Poland Weltyn lakes
Poland Ilawa Forest
Poland Rakutowskie swamps
Poland Middle Warta River Valley
Poland Obra river flood-plain
Poland Notec river flood-plain
Poland Warta River Mouth
Poland Przemków ponds
Poland Woniesc reservoir
Poland Odra riverine forests
Poland Oak-hornbeam forests in the Odra valley
Poland Turawa reservoir
Poland Janów forests
Poland Parczew forests
Poland Knyszyn Forest
Poland Biebrza river valley
Poland Borecka forest
Poland Oswin site
Poland Luknajno lake
Poland Napiwodzko-Ramucka forest
Poland Tuchola Forest
Poland Ostrówek and Smogulec ponds
Poland Nida Rivar Valley
Poland Slesin and Wystep ponds
Poland Solska Forest
Poland Pisz forest
Poland Augustów forest
Poland Niepolomice forest
Greece Evros delta
Greece Mount Cholomontas
Greece Tzena and Pinovo mountains
Greece Apsalos and Moglenitsa gorges
Greece Tymfi (Gkamila) and Smolikas mountains
Greece Antichasia mountains and Meteora
Greece Mount Kerketio (Koziakas)
Greece Antikythira island and surrounding islets
Greece Northern Evros and Ardas riparian forest
Greece Ioannina city
Spain Castronuño-Zamora
Spain Gredos and Candelario mountain ranges
Spain Cortados del Jarama
Spain San Pedro mountain range
Spain San Mauricio-Bohí-Beret
Spain Zuera mountains
Spain Guadalquivir marshes
Spain Tierra de Campos steppes
Spain River Cega-Tierra de Pinares-Cantalejo
Spain Lower course of the river Matarraña-Ribarroja
Spain Low Tietar river and La Vera valley
Spain Alcubierre and Sigena mountain ranges
Serbia Becej fish-pond
Serbia Jegricka
Poland Barycz river valley
Djibouti Kadda Guéïni - Doumêra
Egypt Suez
Egypt Gebel El Zeit
Egypt El Qa plain
Egypt Ras Mohammed National Park
Egypt Ain Sukhna
Ethiopia Lake Langano
Palestine Jericho
Jordan Petra
Lebanon Aammiq wetland
Saudi Arabia Taif escarpment
Syria Sabkhat al-Jabboul
Syria Euphrates valley
Yemen Mafraq al-Mukha
Yemen Bab al-Mandab - Mawza
Lithuania Grazute Regional Park (part of)
Lithuania Labanoras Regional Park
Poland Pasleka river valley
Kazakhstan Karakol Lake
Kazakhstan Sorbulak Lake System
Kazakhstan Chokpak Pass
Kazakhstan Tassuat Lake
Kazakhstan Karasor Lake
Slovenia Črete
Kazakhstan Upper Charyn
Lebanon Hima Anjar - Kfar Zabad
Kazakhstan Kaundy Depression
Kazakhstan Karagie Depression
Kazakhstan Balyktykol Lake
Kazakhstan Saumalkol Lake
Kazakhstan Tuzkol Lake
Kazakhstan Western and northern foothills of the Kalba Range
Kazakhstan Lower reaches of the Emba River
Hungary Szigetköz
Kazakhstan Ortau upland massif
Poland Nielisz Site
Kazakhstan Chingiztau Mountains
Kazakhstan Ayak-Bestau Hills
Poland Dobskie Lake
Kazakhstan Ulytau Mountains
Kazakhstan Ereymentau Mountains
Poland Samica Valley
Kazakhstan Markakol State Nature Reserve
Poland Szyszla River Valley
Poland Warmia Site
Poland Cedynia Site
Poland Trzebiatow Site
Poland Witnica-Debno Site
Poland Barlinek Forest
Poland Drawa River Site
Poland Forest at Drawa River
Poland Forest at Gwda River
Poland Middle Odra River Valley
Poland Rogalin Site
Poland Lower Notec River Valley
Poland Bielawa Swamps
Poland Lower Silesia Forests
Poland Notec Forest
Poland Solokija River Valley
Poland Beskid Niski Mountains
Kazakhstan Arkaly Mountains
Kazakhstan Karabas Mountains
Kazakhstan Ertis Ormany (Shaldai Forest)
Poland Pszczew Lakes and Obra River Valley
Poland Slawskie Lakes
Poland Bzura River Valley
Slovenia Vipavski rob
Kazakhstan Eastern Kazakhstan uplands
Lithuania Asveja Regional Park
Poland Lower Narew River Valley
Poland Roztocze
Poland Kamien Lagoon and Dziwna River
Poland Lower San River Valley
Poland Lower Wieprz River Valley
Poland Przysowia and Sludwia River valley
Poland Stobrawa Watershed
Poland Karas Lake
Poland Sieniawa Forest
Poland Wloszczowa Basin
Poland Kwiecewo Site
Poland Mircze Site
Poland Satopy-Samulewo Site
Poland Hel Peninsula
Poland Jaktorow and Krasnicza Wola Fishponds
Poland Sudety Wałbrzysko-Kamiennogorskie Mountains
Poland Vistula Spit
Serbia Gornje Potamisje
Serbia Usce Save u Dunav
Belarus Braslav lakes
Slovenia Spodnja Sava
Spain Campo Charro y Tierras de Ledesma
Serbia Gornje Potisje

Habitats & altitude
Habitat (level 1) Habitat (level 2) Importance Occurrence
Artificial/Terrestrial Arable Land suitable resident
Artificial/Terrestrial Pastureland suitable resident
Artificial/Terrestrial Rural Gardens suitable resident
Artificial/Terrestrial Urban Areas suitable resident
Desert Hot suitable resident
Forest Subtropical/Tropical Dry suitable resident
Forest Subtropical/Tropical Moist Lowland suitable resident
Forest Temperate suitable resident
Grassland Subtropical/Tropical Dry suitable resident
Grassland Temperate suitable resident
Marine Coastal/Supratidal Sea Cliffs and Rocky Offshore Islands suitable resident
Marine Intertidal Rocky Shoreline suitable resident
Marine Intertidal Sandy Shoreline and/or Beaches, Sand Bars, Spits, Etc suitable resident
Marine Intertidal Shingle and/or Pebble Shoreline and/or Beaches suitable resident
Marine Intertidal Tidepools suitable resident
Savanna Dry suitable resident
Shrubland Mediterranean-type Shrubby Vegetation suitable resident
Shrubland Subtropical/Tropical Dry suitable resident
Shrubland Temperate suitable resident
Wetlands (inland) Bogs, Marshes, Swamps, Fens, Peatlands suitable resident
Altitude 0 - 4900 m Occasional altitudinal limits (max) 5300 m

Threats & impact
Threat (level 1) Threat (level 2) Impact and Stresses
Agriculture & aquaculture Annual & perennial non-timber crops - Scale Unknown/Unrecorded Timing Scope Severity Impact
Ongoing Minority (<50%) Negligible declines Low Impact: 4
Ecosystem degradation
Agriculture & aquaculture Livestock farming & ranching - Small-holder grazing, ranching or farming Timing Scope Severity Impact
Ongoing Minority (<50%) Negligible declines Low Impact: 4
Ecosystem degradation
Biological resource use Hunting & trapping terrestrial animals - Intentional use (species is the target) Timing Scope Severity Impact
Ongoing Minority (<50%) Unknown Unknown
Species disturbance
Biological resource use Hunting & trapping terrestrial animals - Persecution/control Timing Scope Severity Impact
Ongoing Majority (50-90%) Slow, Significant Declines Medium Impact: 6
Species mortality
Biological resource use Logging & wood harvesting - Unintentional effects: (subsistence/small scale) [harvest] Timing Scope Severity Impact
Ongoing Minority (<50%) No decline Low Impact: 4
Ecosystem degradation
Energy production & mining Renewable energy Timing Scope Severity Impact
Ongoing Majority (50-90%) Negligible declines Low Impact: 5
Ecosystem degradation, Species mortality
Pollution Agricultural & forestry effluents - Herbicides and pesticides Timing Scope Severity Impact
Ongoing Majority (50-90%) Unknown Unknown
Ecosystem degradation, Species mortality
Pollution Garbage & solid waste Timing Scope Severity Impact
Ongoing Minority (<50%) No decline Low Impact: 4
Reduced reproductive success, Species mortality
Residential & commercial development Housing & urban areas Timing Scope Severity Impact
Ongoing Minority (<50%) Negligible declines Low Impact: 4
Ecosystem degradation, Ecosystem conversion
Transportation & service corridors Utility & service lines Timing Scope Severity Impact
Ongoing Majority (50-90%) Negligible declines Low Impact: 5
Species mortality

Purpose Primary form used Life stage used Source Scale Level Timing
Pets/display animals, horticulture - - Non-trivial Recent

Recommended citation
BirdLife International (2023) Species factsheet: Milvus migrans. Downloaded from on 05/02/2023. Recommended citation for factsheets for more than one species: BirdLife International (2023) IUCN Red List for birds. Downloaded from on 05/02/2023.