A study of the winter diet of reintroduced red kites (Milvus milvus) from North East England

Quigley, Cally, Armstrong, Roy, Nevin, Owen and Ramsey, Andrew (2008) A study of the winter diet of reintroduced red kites (Milvus milvus) from North East England. In: Symposium of the ZSL: Avian Reintroduction Biology, 8 -9 May 2008, The Meeting Rooms, The Zoological Society of London. Full text not available from this repository.

Official URL: http://static.zsl.org/files/abstracts-for-web-523....

Abstract

The red kite (Milvus milvus) was once one of the rarest birds in Britain; however, following several
reintroduction projects throughout the UK the red kite is steadily making a comeback. This study examined
the winter diet of the population of reintroduced red kites in the north-east.
Feeding pellets were collected from Spen Banks wood, Gateshead. A total of 137 pellets was collected
during six collection events from December to March 2007. The pellets were broken down and ten hair or
feather samples were taken at random from each pellet. Hair samples from mammals were identified to
species and included a wide range of prey items including a range of lagomorphs, mustelids, rodents,
domestic cat and roe deer. Other identifiable remains included feathers from pheasants and corvids and
chaetae from earthworms. Earthworms were the most commonly encountered food item from wintering kite
pellets, with other bird species being second. Non-food items were also identified including rope and loft
insulation. The red kites’ diet did not change significantly over the winter period.
A 50m x 50m grid was also set up look for spatial relationships within the roost. A significant negative
correlation (r= -0.991, p=0.009) was discovered between the number of pellets and the distance form the
edge of the roost. It is not clear whether this is due to dominant birds preferring the middle of the roost, a
despotic distribution within the kites, or the outside edge of the roost being more attractive. The project was
supported by RSPB Northern Kites.

Item Type: Conference or Workshop Item (Other)
Journal or Publication Title: n/a
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Departments: Faculty of Health and Science > Science, Natural Resources and Outdoor Studies > Forestry, Conservation & Applied Science
Depositing User: Insight Administrator
Date Deposited: 19 Jan 2012 15:38
Last Modified: 26 Aug 2016 16:09
URI: http://insight.cumbria.ac.uk/id/eprint/1064

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