The species was hunted to extinction in Scotland in the 1870s, but the red kite has made a successful return.

Now, RSPB Scotland staff have now named one after a 21st century Hollywood character.

Those working at the charity's Tollie Red Kite Centre near Dingwall say that with her striking red plumage and adventurous spirit, it was easy to name a young red kite after the flame-haired heroine of Disney/Pixar's film Brave.

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Merida was fledged near the centre in July and has since been doing what young red kites do best: exploring.

Now the RSPB is inviting members of the public to follow Merida's movements on its website as part of a project to track the progress of red kites in north Scotland.

After being satellite tagged along with three other kites: Millie, Ruaridh and Wyvis, Merida has been flying in the area close to her natal home.

Red kites were reintroduced to the north of Scotland between 1989 and 1994. Conservationists hope that tracking the birds will raise awareness and under-standing of the species.

Brad Chappell of RSPB Scotland, said: "Our Merida is just as bold and adventurous as her on-screen name-sake. After exploring her local area she headed south to the Cairngorms National Park for a look around down there before heading back to her home range.

"The latest data shows that she is investigating Loch Ness. We hope to track her movements and that of the other tagged birds and encourage the public to do so as well via the website."