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 D. (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.

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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.

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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: 13 Jun 2017 11:37
URI: http://insight.cumbria.ac.uk/id/eprint/1064

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