(Falco Milvus, Linn.—Le Milan Royal, Buff.)
IS easily distinguished from the Buzzard, and indeed from all the rest of the tribe, by its forked tail. Its length is about two feet: bill horn colour, furnished with bristles at the base; eyes and cere yellow; the feathers on the head and neck are long and narrow, of a hoary colour, streaked with brown down the middle of each; those on the body are reddish brown, the margin of each feather pale; quills dark brown, legs yellow, claws black. It is common in England, where it continues the whole year. Is found in various parts of Europe, in very northern latitudes, whence it retires towards Egypt before winter, in great numbers: it is said to breed there, and return in April to Europe, where it breeds a second time, contrary to the nature of rapacious birds in general. It lays two or three eggs of a roundish form, and whitish colour, spotted with pale yellow. Though the Kite weighs somewhat less than three pounds, the extent of its wings is more than five feet; its flight is rapid, and it soars very high in the air, frequently beyond the reach of sight; yet from this distance descends upon its prey with irresistible force: its attacks are confined to small quadrupeds and birds; it is particularly fond of young chickens, but the fury of their mother is generally sufficient to drive away the robber.
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