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Black Kite Milvus migrans

Justification
This species has an extremely large range, and hence does not approach the thresholds for Vulnerable under the range size criterion (Extent of Occurrence <20,000 km2 combined with a declining or fluctuating range size, habitat extent/quality, or population size and a small number of locations or severe fragmentation). Despite the fact that the population trend appears to be decreasing, the decline is not believed to be sufficiently rapid to approach the thresholds for Vulnerable under the population trend criterion (>30% decline over 10 years or three generations). The population size is extremely large, and hence does not approach the thresholds for Vulnerable under the population size criterion (<10,000 mature individuals with a continuing decline estimated to be >10% in 10  years or three generations, or with a specified population structure). For these reasons the species is evaluated as Least Concern.

Taxonomic source(s)
AERC TAC. 2003. AERC TAC Checklist of bird taxa occurring in Western Palearctic region, 15th Draft. Available at: #http://www.aerc.eu/DOCS/Bird_taxa_of _the_WP15.xls#.
Cramp, S.; Perrins, C. M. 1977-1994. Handbook of the birds of Europe, the Middle East and Africa. The birds of the western Palearctic. Oxford University Press, Oxford.
del Hoyo, J.; Collar, N. J.; Christie, D. A.; Elliott, A.; Fishpool, L. D. C. 2014. HBW and BirdLife International Illustrated Checklist of the Birds of the World. Barcelona, Spain and Cambridge UK: Lynx Edicions and BirdLife International.

Population justification
In Europe, the breeding population is estimated to number 64,000-100,000 breeding pairs, equating to 192,000-300,000 individuals (BirdLife International 2004). Europe forms 5-24% of the global range, so a very preliminary estimate of the global population size is 1,000,000-6,000,000 individuals, although further validation of this estimate is needed.

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, trends since 1982 show that populations have undergone a moderate increase (p<0.05), based on provisional data for 21 countries from the Pan-European Common Bird Monitoring Scheme (EBCC/RSPB/BirdLife/Statistics Netherlands; P. Vorisek in litt. 2008).

Ecology

Behaviour The species is mainly migratory, with birds from Europe and northern Asia wintering in sub-Saharan Africa and southern Asia. Those at lower latitudes do not tend to be full migrants (del Hoyo et al. 1994). Migrating birds leave their breeding grounds between July and October, arriving back between February and May (Ferguson-Lees and Christie 2001). It is generally a gregarious species, with birds often roosting communally and migrating in scattered flocks (del Hoyo et al. 1994, Ferguson-Lees and Christie 2001). Habitat It is found ubiquitously throughout habitats, although avoiding dense woodland, and is recorded foraging up to 4,000 m in the Himalayas (del Hoyo et al. 1994). Diet An extremely versatile feeder, it takes carrion as well as live birds, mammals, fish, lizards, amphibians and invertebrates, and is even known to forage on vegetable matter such as palm oil fruits; human refuse has become a plentiful food source in many areas (del Hoyo et al. 1994). Breeding site The nest is usually built on the fork or branch of a tree (del Hoyo et al. 1994). Management information The species has become highly commensal with people and thrives in human-dominated environments, but modernisation of cities appears to reduce its breeding success (del Hoyo et al. 1994, Ferguson-Lees and Christie 2001).

Threats

The species has suffered historically as a result of poisoning, shooting and the pollution of water by pesticides and other chemicals. Agricultural pesticide poisoning caused its extirpation as a breeder in Israel in the 1950s; it has since recolonised (del Hoyo et al. 1994). Carcass poisoning and water pollution continues to drive declines in Europe and parts of Asia. Whilst it is well-suited to the presence of humans, particularly in terms of its diet, the modernisation of cities has been shown to reduce available habitat, with overall Black Kite populations showing declines through the 20th century in Delhi and Istanbul (Ferguson-Lees and Christie 2001). It is very highly vulnerable to the effects of potential wind energy development (Strix 2012).

References
del Hoyo, J.; Elliott, A.; Sargatal, J. 1994. Handbook of the Birds of the World, vol. 2: New World Vultures to Guineafowl. Lynx Edicions, Barcelona, Spain.

Ferguson-Lees, J.; Christie, D. A. 2001. Raptors of the world. Christopher Helm, London.

Johnson, J. A.; Watson, R. T.; Mindell, D. P. 2005. Prioritizing species conservation: does the Cape Verde Kite exist? Proceedings of the Royal Society of London Series B 272: 1365-1371.

Sibley, C. G.; Monroe, B. L. 1990. Distribution and taxonomy of birds of the world. Yale University Press, New Haven, USA.

Sibley, C. G.; Monroe, B. L. 1993. A supplement to "Distribution and taxonomy of birds of the world". Yale University Press, New Haven, USA.

Strix. 2012. Developing and testing the methodology for assessing and mapping the sensitivity of migratory birds to wind energy development. BirdLife International, Cambridge.

Further web sources of information
Explore HBW Alive for further information on this species

Search for photos and videos, and hear sounds of this species from the Internet Bird Collection

Text account compilers
Calvert, R., Khwaja, N.

Recommended citation
BirdLife International (2014) Species factsheet: Milvus migrans. Downloaded from http://www.birdlife.org on 21/12/2014. Recommended citation for factsheets for more than one species: BirdLife International (2014) IUCN Red List for birds. Downloaded from http://www.birdlife.org on 21/12/2014.

This information is based upon, and updates, the information published in BirdLife International (2000) Threatened birds of the world. Barcelona and Cambridge, UK: Lynx Edicions and BirdLife International, BirdLife International (2004) Threatened birds of the world 2004 CD-ROM and BirdLife International (2008) Threatened birds of the world 2008 CD-ROM. These sources provide the information for species accounts for the birds on the IUCN Red List.

To provide new information to update this factsheet or to correct any errors, please email BirdLife

To contribute to discussions on the evaluation of the IUCN Red List status of Globally Threatened Birds, please visit BirdLife's Globally Threatened Bird Forums.

Additional resources for this species

ARKive species - Black kite (Milvus migrans) 0

Key facts
Current IUCN Red List category Least Concern
Family Accipitridae (Hawks, Eagles)
Species name author (Boddaert, 1783)
Population size 1000000-6000000 mature individuals
Population trend Unknown
Distribution size (breeding/resident) 65,800,000 km2
Country endemic? No
Links to further information
- Additional Information on this species