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a genus of predatory birds of the family Accipitridae. The wings are long and broad, and the tail is long and forked. The body measures up to 70 cm long. The genus comprises two species. The plumage of the black kite is dark brown, and that of the red kite, reddish-brown.
The black kite (M. korschun) is distributed in Europe, Africa, Asia, and Australia; it is found everywhere in the USSR except the far north. The bird winters in Africa and southern Asia. It lives in forests, in steppes, in semideserts, on mountains, and on plains, primarily near bodies of water. It nests in trees, on precipices, and on cliffs. Two to four eggs are laid per clutch. Both parents incubate the eggs over a period of about one month. The black kite seeks out its prey while soaring. It feeds on small rodents, reptiles, amphibians, carrion, and refuse; sometimes it eats small fish and birds. The bird is useful, although it occasion-ally preys on domesticated fowl.
The red kite (M. milvus) is found in Western Europe, North Africa, and Southwest Asia. In the USSR it is found in the extreme southwest and in Transcaucasia. It lives in mixed and deciduous forests. The red kite is biologically similar to the black kite.