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A mixed pair of black and red kites in Ukraine, including DNA analysis of hybrid offspring

Abstract

Red kite (Milvus milvus) is a European raptor. Kites of the nominal subspecies Milvus migrans migrans (hereafter called black kites) breed in the Western Palearctic and in Central Asia. Due to the extremely short period since their divergence, black and red kites can successfully hybridize. A mixed pair of black kite female and red kite male was observed during breeding seasons 2017 and 2018 in Poltva, Ukraine (i.e., in the easternmost part of red kites’ breeding territory). This pair produced three and three young in 2017 and 2018, respectively. DNA of the three young from 2018 was analyzed regarding their mitochondrial CytB haplotype and nuclear Myc gene alleles. All three young had a common black kite CytB haplotype. Myc alleles combinations suggest that the male parent could be not a pure red kite and could have a black kite among its ancestors. All three young from 2018 were presumed predated on or close to the nest by goshawk (Accipiter gentilis).

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Acknowledgements

We thank Roman Danylevich, Hynek Matušík, and Petr Podzemný for their cooperation in the field.

Author information

Correspondence to Ivan Literák.

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No ethical approval was needed for using black kite female and red kite male in the study.

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The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.

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Literák, I., Skyrpan, M. & Andreyenkova, N.G. A mixed pair of black and red kites in Ukraine, including DNA analysis of hybrid offspring. Biologia 75, 115–120 (2020). https://doi.org/10.2478/s11756-019-00268-1

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Keywords

  • Red kite
  • Milvus milvus
  • Black kite
  • Milvus migrans
  • Hybridization