red kites
A red kite flies over the Chiltern Hills near Lewknor, southern England Reuters

A programme to reintroduce Red Kites into the wild in the UK has saved the species from extinction. The birds were nearly wiped out in Scotland and England during the 19th century by people who wrongly believed they preyed on livestock and game birds.

The birds eat mainly carrion and worms and occasionally mammals, according to the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds (RSPB).

The organisation deemed the reintroduction programme as one of the "world's longest running protection programmes".

The programme began in the Chilterns and Black Isle.

"The fact that thousands of people can see kites on a daily basis now when 30 years ago they would have had no chance is the ultimate success," Jeff Knotts, RSPB's species policy officer told Sky News.

The birds can be seen in Central Wales, central England, central Scotland and along the Galloway Kite Trail are the best areas to find them, according to RSPB.

The Red Kite is renowned for taking items to make its nest. Last June reports emerged of Red Kites stealing underwear of skinny-dippers at a wild swimming spot in the Angus Glens, Scotland.