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Common name Black Kite
Scientific name Milvus migrans
Type Forest birds
Status Migrator

Medium-sized raptor bird (approx 60 cm or 23.5 in) with an also medium wingspan (approx 155 cm or 5 ft). Dark uniform plumage on the back. More rufous underparts, with a slight dark speckling. Head of grey tones and dark streaks. Long wings, of more rufous tones, slightly bent backwards (angled) and with the ends of a little lighter tones. Long tail, greyish brown with abundant barring and a forked shape (less than in the Red Kite).


Woodland environments

Where it lives

Generalist species that occupies clarified forest stands which are close to bodies of water, such as reservoirs, lakes or rivers. Also in groves, meadows, open areas and mosaic landscapes.

How it lives

Species present in the province only during the migratory passage, at which time thousands of specimens can be observed. As a breeder it is frequent in the center and north of the peninsula as well as in the marshes of the Guadalquivir. Nest in trees. One annual laying of 1 to 5 eggs. Generalist in terms of feeding and not a very skilled hunter, it feeds on easily captured prey and is associated above all with landfills, garbage dumps and points where human activity provides it with food, such as farms or slaughterhouses. The Black Kite exploits situations of superabundance of food, such as plagues of voles, locusts or fish mortalities. It also steals the prey to other birds. Gregarious to feed and sleep.

Where it can be seen in Malaga

Very frequent and abundant species during migration, especially the post-nuptial one. It is watched in many points of the province, more easily near the Strait. The waste plants of Casares or the garbage dump of Cortes de la Frontera are common places to observe them. In Sierra Alpujata (Mijas) or in Montemayor (Benahavís) thousands of specimens can be watched in passage between August and October. Up to 60,000 specimens from all over Europe fly through the province every year to reach Tarifa and cross the Strait. In the Great Path it can be observed in stages 19, 29, 32 and 33.

Curious facts

Black Kite males usually return from Africa in the spring, before females do. They claim and take possession of their former territories and await the return of the females there. When these arrive they resume the relationship and if they are accepted, they take care of rebuilding the nest.

Wintering Summer Resident Migration