This bird can be found in mainland Europe, Africa, the Middle East, India and southern Asia, New Guinea and Australia. Most migrate to warmer climes during the winter, but in parts of their range they can be seen all year round.
Closer to home they may be seen throughout much of France (the Common Buzzard is more common in lowland France, with the Black Kite taking over in the foothills of the massif, itself giving way to the Red Kite at the highest altitudes), Germany, Switzerland, etc.
They have, by virtue of their numbers, been described as the world's most successful bird of prey.
The Black Kite is the supreme opportunist. It will, in essence, eat whatever it can get hold of - small insects caught in flight, small mammals, reptiles and birds (including young poultry) and carrion.
They will scavenge and pick up any scraps available, being very common in areas of human population and frequenting rubbish tips as well as temples to take the food offered to the gods.
The call of the black kite is unmistakeable.
This is another bird you will hear regularly at the Hawk Conservancy; the breeding pair in their aviary, and the display birds in theirs or in demonstration.
We are looking at a bird which is usually vocal, particularly around the breeding season when territorial affirmation becomes the driving force.
Its common call is rather like a horse whinneying.
Status and behaviour in the wild
The Black Kite is, in many ways, an unusual bird of prey.
It is enormously successful throughout much of the Old World and Australia. It is a scavenger, and it is regularly to be seen circling high in the air in a carousel of 20 or more birds. In some parts, when roosting in trees, they literally flock in groups of a hundred or more, but the record probably goes to a piggery in Australia, where groups of up to 3,000 individuals have been sighted!
In tropical market places it is quite common to find these birds stealing from market stalls, or even from shoppers' uncovered baskets.