We describe red kite Milvus milvus nesting habitat in Gipuzkoa (Basque Country, northern
Spain), a region under high human pressure where the traditional countryside
has been extensively substituted by Monterey pine Pinus radiata plantations. All nests were 10-30 m up in Monterey
pine stands 20-40 m tall. Forest patches were mono-specific and most comprised
from 100 to over 1,000 trees. Vegetation cover around the nests was typical of
the region, with a mosaic of meadows and forests, including exotic tree timber
plantations. The fact that the red kite in Gipuzkoa breeds in Monterey pine
plantations does not mean that this habitat constitutes a priority for its
long-term conservation. However, its replacement by native forest should entail
a gradual substitution of the old pine stands to guarantee the availability of
sufficient tall, mature trees offering good conditions for red kite nests.
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