kite defined in 1930 yearkite - Kite;
kite - Upper parts reddish brown; the feathers with pale edges, those of the head and neck long, and tapering to a point, greyish white, streaked lengthways with brown; under parts rust-colour with longitudinal brown streaks; tail reddish orange, barred indistinctly with brown; beak horn-colour; cere, irides, and feet yellow; claws black. Female: upper parts a deeper brown, the feathers pale at the extremity; head and neck white. Length, twenty-five inches.
The kite, or glead, is another melancholy example of the effect of the pitiless persecution of some of our finest birds by game-preservers, and, as the species became rare, by collectors of ' British killed ' specimens and ' British-taken ' eggs. Once a common species in the British Islands, it is now reduced to a miserable remnant, composed of a few breeding pairs in Wales and Scotland.
Among the various types of diurnal birds of prey, the kite is one of the finest; the great extent of his sharp-pointed wings and his long, forked tail, fit him for an aerial life. In appearance he is a swallow-shaped eagle; and few birds equal him in grace and majesty of motion when he soars at a vast height. Like the eagles, buzzards, and other strong-fliers among the raptors, he soars for exercise and recreation; but, vulture-like, when soaring he is ever on the watch for a meal. And, like the vulture, he will feed on garbage; for though of so noble an appearance, and possessed of such great power, he has, compared with the falcons, a poor spirit, and his name is a term of reproach that signifies cowardice and rapacity. A carrion-eater, he also preys on small mammals, reptiles, and birds, in most cases the young, the sickly, or wounded.
The nest of the kite is placed in a tree, and is a bulky structure of sticks, mixed with much rubbish - bones, turf, scraps of paper, and old rags - and is lined with wool and moss. Two to four eggs are laid, three being the usual number. In size, colour, and markings they closely resemble those of the buzzard.
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