A bird extinct in Ireland for over 300 years has been successfully reintroduced there.

The Red Kite became extinct in the 18th century but in 2007 an effort to reintroduce them from Wales began.

Now the first hatching of red kite chicks has taken place much to the delight of bird lovers.

Project manager Damien Clarke said the hatching was the beginning of a new era.

“It is my hope that the red kite will, with time, once again be a common sight throughout Ireland. These Irish-bred chicks are the first sign of that becoming a reality," he told The Irish Times.

Five chicks have been confirmed in two nests in Co Wicklow.

Of the birds brought in from Wales, most have survived, and some have migrated to counties as far away as Kerry and Leitrim.

The birds were first bred in two nests last year but neither succeeded.

This year, nine breeding attempts were discovered, and six of these still have females incubating eggs. Three chicks have been noted in one nest and two in another.

The red kite is called that because of its reddish-brown body and tail, and its large wingspan of up to five feet.

Shakespeare mentioned them in his plays.