Red Kite Milvus milvus


Taxonomic source(s)
del Hoyo, J., Collar, N.J., Christie, D.A., Elliott, A. and Fishpool, L.D.C. 2014. HBW and BirdLife International Illustrated Checklist of the Birds of the World. Volume 1: Non-passerines. Lynx Edicions BirdLife International, Barcelona, Spain and Cambridge, UK.

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

Red List history
Year Category Criteria
2020 Least Concern
2018 Near Threatened A2bce+3bce+4bce
2016 Near Threatened A2bce+3bce+4bce
2013 Near Threatened A2bce+3bce+4bce
2012 Near Threatened A2bce+3bce+4bce
2009 Near Threatened A2b,c,e; A3b,c,e; A4b,c,e
2008 Near Threatened
2005 Near Threatened
2004 Least Concern
2000 Lower Risk/Least Concern
1994 Lower Risk/Least Concern
1988 Threatened
Species attributes

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

Estimate Data quality
Extent of Occurrence breeding/resident (km2) 6,870,000 medium
Extent of Occurrence non-breeding (km2) 6,250,000 medium
Severely fragmented? no -
Population and trend
Value Data quality Derivation Year of estimate
Number of mature individuals 60000-70000 good estimated 2012
Population trend increasing good estimated 1993-2025
Decline % (10 years/3 generations future) 30-70 - - -
Decline % (10 years/3 generations past and future) 50-70 - - -
Number of subpopulations 2-100 - - -
Generation length (years) 10.7 - - -

Population justification: Recent data submitted to the European Commission for EU countries (which hold at least 90% of the global population) estimated a total of 29,746- 34,751 pairs breeding in 17 countries (BirdLife International in prep.), closely matching a new global estimate of c. 35,000 pairs (A. Aebischer in litt. 2020). The global population is therefore estimated to be between 60,000-70,000 mature individuals.

This is a substantial increase from the numbers previously reported: 25,200-33,400 pairs for the European Red List of Birds (BirdLife International 2015), and 21,000-25,000 pairs in 2009.

Trend justification: Although this species declined globally until the 1970s owing to persecution, many populations recovered or stabilised during 1970-1990 (Mionnet 2007) and its overall numbers were probably stable in Europe from 1970 to 1990 (Tucker and Heath 1994). A decline occurred within core breeding areas - Spain, France and Germany - between 1990 and at the early 2000s, but these were partly offset by rapid increases in the U.K., Sweden, Poland and Switzerland. Data collated from across the range and submitted to the European Commission (EC) under Article 12 of the EU Birds Directive in late 2019 indicates that the species is now stable or increasing in the majority of countries in which it occurs, including Germany (Grüneberg & Karthäuser 2019), France (David et al. 2017) and Spain (Molina 2015: though declines continue in the south). Only in Portugal was the species determined to be decreasing (BirdLife International in prep.). In addition, in Morocco it is believed to be extinct as a breeding species: 20 pairs were known in 1987 (Bergier 1987) but numbers declined with the last known nest located in 2004 (Radi et al. 2020). Small numbers continue to occur in winter (Radi et al. 2020).   

Country/territory distribution
Country/Territory Presence Origin Resident Breeding Non-breeding Passage
Albania extant native yes
Algeria possibly extinct native yes yes
Andorra extant native yes
Armenia extant vagrant
Austria extant native yes yes yes
Azerbaijan extant vagrant
Bangladesh extant vagrant
Belarus extant native yes
Belgium extant native yes yes
Bosnia and Herzegovina extant native yes
Bulgaria extant native yes yes
Cape Verde extinct native
Croatia extant native yes yes
Cyprus extant vagrant
Czechia extant native yes yes yes
Denmark extant native yes yes
Egypt possibly extinct vagrant
Estonia extant vagrant yes
Finland extant vagrant
France extant native yes yes
Gambia possibly extinct vagrant
Georgia extant vagrant
Germany extant native yes yes
Gibraltar (to UK) extant native
Greece possibly extinct native yes
Hungary extant native yes
Iceland extant vagrant
India extant vagrant
Iran, Islamic Republic of extant native yes
Iraq extant vagrant yes
Ireland extant reintroduced yes
Israel extant vagrant
Italy extant native yes yes
Jordan extant vagrant
Latvia extant native yes
Lebanon extant vagrant yes yes
Libya extant vagrant
Liechtenstein extant native yes yes
Lithuania extant native yes
Luxembourg extant native yes
Malta extant native yes
Mauritania extant vagrant
Moldova extant native yes yes
Montenegro extant vagrant yes
Morocco extant native yes
Nepal extant vagrant
Netherlands extant native yes
North Macedonia extant vagrant
Norway extant vagrant
Poland extant native yes
Portugal extant native yes
Romania extant native yes yes
Russia extant native yes
Russia (European) extant native yes
San Marino extant uncertain yes
Serbia extant native yes
Slovakia extant native yes
Slovenia extant native yes
Spain extant native yes yes
Sudan extant vagrant yes
Sweden extant native yes yes yes
Switzerland extant native yes
Syria extant vagrant
Tunisia extant native yes yes
Türkiye extant native yes
Ukraine extant native yes
United Kingdom extant native yes

Important Bird and Biodiversity Areas (IBA)
Country/Territory IBA Name
Czechia Confluence of the Morava (March) and Dyje (Thaya) rivers - Tvrdonicko
Portugal Serra de Penha Garcia e Campina de Toulões
Belgium Sinémurienne
Belgium Hautes Fagnes/Eifel
Poland Szczecin lagoon
Spain Tierra de Campos steppes
France Forêt domaniale de la Harth
France Forêt de Haguenau
France Haut Val d'Allier
France Gorges de la Sioule
France Sologne Bourbonnaise
France Vallée de la Loire : gorges de la Loire
France Gorges de la Truyère
France Haute Soule : Massif Forestier, Gorges d'Holzarte et d'Olhadubi
France Haute Soule : Forêt des Arbailles
France Haute Soule : Forêt d'Irraty, Organbidexka et Pic des Escaliers
France Haute Soule : massif de la Pierre-St-Martin.
France Plateau Ardennais
France Etangs d'Argonne
France Lac du Der-Chantecoq et étangs latéraux
France Vallée de l'Aisne
France Bassigny
France Vallée du Régino
France Forêt de Chaux
France Vallée de la Saône de Corre à Broye
France Etangs de la Woëvre: lac de Madine
France Plateaux de Millevaches et de Gentioux
France Gorges de la Dordogne
France Plaine du Forez
Italy Manferrara forest
Austria March/Thaya riverine forest
Switzerland La Brévine and Les Ponts-de-Martel
Switzerland Jura mountains of Baselland - Solothurn
Switzerland Lowlands of Zurich and lower valley of the river Thur
Switzerland 'Grosses Moos' plain and Niederried reservoir
Germany Pressel wooded heath and mire
Germany Unteres Rhinluch-Dreetzer See / Havelländisches Luch / Belziger Landschaftswiesen
Germany Ponds and Elbe valley near Torgau
Germany Hellwegbörde
Germany Barnbruch
Germany Berchtesgaden National Park
Germany Bliesgau
Germany Wagbach lowlands
Germany Uckermark lake region
Germany Stechlin
Germany Märkische Schweiz
Germany Medebacher Bucht
Germany Emsaue (Rietberger Emsniederung - Steinhorster Becken)
Germany Gladenbach mountains east of Herborn
Germany Knüll
Cape Verde Serra do Pico da Antónia
Russia (European) Nemanski forest
Portugal Montesinho and Nogueira mountains
Portugal Sabôr and Maçãs
Portugal Upper River Tejo
Portugal Côa valley
Portugal Castro Verde plains
Portugal Arraiolos
Sweden Falsterbo – Bay of Fote
United Kingdom Elenydd - Mallaen
Poland Wkrzanska Forest
Poland Witnica-Debno Site
Italy Ticino river
Portugal Vila Fernando
Slovakia Laborecká upland
Slovakia Morava
Italy Lake Bracciano and Tolfa hills
Italy Maiella, Pizzi and Frentani mountains
Italy Matese
Italy River Biferno
Italy Picentini mountains
Italy Mount Cervati
Italy Daunia mountains
Italy Gravine
Italy Dolomiti di Pietrapertosa
Italy Agri Valley
Italy Calanchi della Basilicata
Italy Fiumara di Atella
Italy Pollino and Orsomarso
Italy Alto Ionio Cosentino
Italy Marchesato and River Neto
Italy Nebrodi
Italy Altopiano di Campeda
Italy Altopiano di Abbasanta
Germany Upper and middle reaches of river Krückau with tributaries
Germany Elbe lowlands between Schnackenburg and Lauenburg
Germany Drömling (Niedersachsen)
Germany Altmühl valley between Treuchtlingen and Leutershausen with Altmühlsee
Germany Danube valley: Neu-Ulm - Lauingen incl. Faiminger Stausee, Donau-Moos, and Gundelfinger Moos
Germany Donau-Auen and Donau-Ried: Höchstädt - Donauwörth
Germany Danube valley: Regensburg-Vilshofen
Germany Schorfheide-Chorin
Germany Rhön Biosphere Reserve
Germany Vorderer Steigerwald - Windsheimer Bucht - Steigerwald-Vorland
Germany Fiener Bruch
Germany South-eastern Alb and Upper Danube valley
Germany Wutach ravine
Germany Sachsenwald
Germany Hohe Geest near Himbergen / Bad Bodenteich
Germany Forests south of Wolfsburg
Germany Braunschweig sewage farms
Germany Solling
Germany Georgsdorfer and Dalum-Wietmarscher Moor and Alte Piccardie
Germany Farmlands Prignitz with Stepenitz valley (BB) and eastern Grabow (MV)
Germany Randow-Welse-Bruch / Uckermärkische Agrarlandschaft
Germany Mittlere Schwäbische Alb with Albuch, Härtsfeld and Schmiechener See
Germany Baar
Germany Danube valley Scheer-Zwiefaltendorf
Germany Spessart
Germany Northern Danube valley and southern Riesalb
Germany Sennelager training area
Germany Unteres Eichsfeld
Germany Donauried
Germany Kellerwald
Germany Vogelsberg
Germany Forests of Lauenburg
Germany Werra meadows near Bad Salzungen
Germany Middle Elbe valley with Steckby-Lödderitz forest
Germany Hakel
Germany Drömling (Sachsen-Anhalt)
Germany Ploetzkau flood-plain forest
Germany Saale-Elster valley
Germany Egge
Germany Oberwesterwald, incl. Westerwald lake area and Neunkhausener Plateau
Germany Ahrgebirge
Germany Westlicher Hintertaunus, incl. Gemmerich (Nastätter-Miehlener Senke)
Germany Aukrug Nature Park
Germany Mecklenburgische Schweiz
Luxembourg Valley of the Trëtterbaach
Luxembourg Upper Valley of the Our
Luxembourg Region of Mompach, Manternach, Bech and Osweiler
Luxembourg Valley of the Woltz
Luxembourg Valley of the Attert
Luxembourg Region of Junglinster
Poland Lower Odra river valley
Poland Cedynia Site
Poland Goleniow Forest
Poland Barlinek Forest
Poland Insko Site
Poland Drawa River Site
Poland Forest at Drawa River
Poland Tuchola Forest
Poland Augustów forest
Poland Notec Forest
Poland Middle Odra River Valley
Poland Barycz river valley
Poland Lower Silesia Forests
Spain Peña Labra and Cordel mountain ranges
Spain La Losa-Orduña (Salvada mountain range)
Spain River Cega-Tierra de Pinares-Cantalejo
Spain River Moros
Spain Northern slope of Guadarrama mountain range
Spain Segovia
Spain Tordesillas-Mota del Marqués
Spain Tierra de Campiñas steppes
Spain Arribes del Duero-Fermoselle
Spain Río Huebra-Arribes del Duero
Spain Gredos and Candelario mountain ranges
Spain El Escorial-San Martín de Valdeiglesias
Spain Cortados del Jarama
Spain Roncesvalles-Irati-Abodi mountain range
Spain Alcubierre and Sigena mountain ranges
Spain Guara mountain range
Spain Santo Domingo-Riglos-Gratal
Spain San Juan de la Peña-Oroel crag
Spain Dos Ríos and Orba mountain ranges
Spain Collarada-Telera
Spain San Mauricio-Bohí-Beret
Spain Boumort mountains
Spain Rosarito and Navalcán reservoirs-La Iglesuela (Tietar valley)
Spain Ecija-Osuna plain
Spain Guadalquivir marshes
Spain Fuente de Cantos-Montemolín
Spain Azuaga-Llerena-Peraleda de Zaucejo
Spain Central Badajoz mountain ranges
Spain Bienvenida-Usagre-Ribera del Fresno
Spain Jerez de los Caballeros dehesas
Spain Olivenza-La Albuera
Spain Alange
Spain Puerto de Mejoral-Almorchón-Cabeza del Buey
Spain La Serena
Spain Siruela-Agudo
Spain Cijara reservoir
Spain Pela mountain range-Orellana reservoir-Zorita
Spain Valdehornillos-Santa Amalia
Spain Montánchez mountain range-Cornalvo reservoir
Spain Lácara-Morante
Spain Botoa-Villar del Rey
Spain San Pedro mountain range
Spain Cedillo reservoir
Spain Brozas-Membrío
Spain Malpartida de Cáceres-Arroyo de la Luz
Spain Plain between Cáceres and Trujillo-Aldea del Cano
Spain Trujillo-Torrecillas de la Tiesa
Spain Las Villuercas mountain range
Spain Monfragüe
Spain Alcántara reservoir-Cuatro Lugares
Spain Coria mountain ranges
Spain Borbollón reservoir
Spain East Gata mountain range
Spain Gabriel y Galán reservoir
Spain Low Tietar river and La Vera valley
Spain Campo Arañuelo-Valdecañas reservoir
Spain Tramuntana mountains
Spain North and east coasts of Minorca and island of Aire
Spain Ravines and pinewoods in central Minorca
Spain El Oso - Corredor del Río Adaja
Spain Albacete - Barrax - La Roda
Spain El Rebollar
Spain Campo Charro y Tierras de Ledesma
Spain Vegas del Alagón
Italy Sicani mountains, Rocca Busambra and Ficuzza forest

Habitats & altitude
Habitat (level 1) Habitat (level 2) Importance Occurrence
Artificial/Terrestrial Arable Land suitable resident
Artificial/Terrestrial Pastureland suitable resident
Artificial/Terrestrial Urban Areas suitable non-breeding
Artificial/Terrestrial Urban Areas suitable breeding
Forest Temperate major breeding
Forest Temperate major non-breeding
Grassland Temperate suitable non-breeding
Grassland Temperate suitable breeding
Shrubland Mediterranean-type Shrubby Vegetation major non-breeding
Shrubland Mediterranean-type Shrubby Vegetation major breeding
Altitude 0 - 1600 m Occasional altitudinal limits (max) 2500 m

Threats & impact
Threat (level 1) Threat (level 2) Impact and Stresses
Agriculture & aquaculture Annual & perennial non-timber crops - Agro-industry farming Timing Scope Severity Impact
Ongoing Minority (<50%) No decline Low Impact: 4
Ecosystem degradation
Agriculture & aquaculture Livestock farming & ranching - Agro-industry 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%) Negligible declines Low Impact: 4
Reduced reproductive success, Species mortality
Biological resource use Hunting & trapping terrestrial animals - Persecution/control Timing Scope Severity Impact
Ongoing Minority (<50%) Slow, Significant Declines Low Impact: 5
Species mortality
Biological resource use Logging & wood harvesting - Unintentional effects: (large scale) [harvest] Timing Scope Severity Impact
Ongoing Majority (50-90%) No decline Low Impact: 5
Ecosystem degradation, Ecosystem conversion
Energy production & mining Renewable energy Timing Scope Severity Impact
Ongoing Minority (<50%) No decline Low Impact: 4
Species mortality
Pollution Agricultural & forestry effluents - Herbicides and pesticides Timing Scope Severity Impact
Ongoing Minority (<50%) Slow, Significant Declines Low Impact: 5
Species mortality
Transportation & service corridors Roads & railroads Timing Scope Severity Impact
Ongoing Majority (50-90%) No decline Low Impact: 5
Species mortality
Transportation & service corridors Utility & service lines Timing Scope Severity Impact
Ongoing Majority (50-90%) No decline Low Impact: 5
Species mortality

Purpose Primary form used Life stage used Source Scale Level Timing
Food - human - - non-trivial recent
Pets/display animals, horticulture - - international non-trivial recent
Sport hunting/specimen collecting - - non-trivial recent

Recommended citation
BirdLife International (2023) Species factsheet: Milvus milvus. Downloaded from on 22/09/2023. Recommended citation for factsheets for more than one species: BirdLife International (2023) IUCN Red List for birds. Downloaded from on 22/09/2023.