Police are appealing for information following the death of a red kite in the Nairn area.
The kite was discovered by a member of the public on farmland in the Glenferness area at the end of October. Police were contacted with immediate action being taken to establish the cause of death. Subsequently, test results returned this week have confirmed the bird had ingested an illegal pesticide.
Commenting on the investigation, Area Commander Chief Inspector Colin Gough said:
"Sadly it has been confirmed the red kite had died as a result of consuming a poisonous substance and an investigation is now taking place into the circumstances. It appears to be an isolated incident involving a single bird of prey. Police Scotland and partners are committed to tackling wildlife crime and will utilise all available resources to bring those responsible to justice."
"Investigations into wildlife crime can be very complex and challenging, with a major part of our enquiries involving liaising with members of the local community who may hold essential information.
"We would appeal to anyone who has any information to make contact as a matter of urgency via 101 or Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111"
Ian Thomson, Head of Investigations for RSPB Scotland said:
"It is very disappointing to hear of yet another incident of raptor persecution in this area. It is thoroughly depressing that in 21st century Scotland, there are still those who have a Victorian attitude towards birds of prey, as well as a criminal disregard of the law.
"The continued targeting of our raptors is a stain on our country’s reputation and has no place in modern Scotland. I urge anyone who has information about this incident to contact the police as soon as possible."