This post has 11 Simple Fields-fields attached. Show fields.

Snail-Kite standing on a wire
rostrhamus sociabilis
Rostrhamus sociabilis (Snail Kite)

The Snail Kite, is a distinctive bird of prey known for its specialized hunting skills and habitat preferences. With a population of approximately 2 million, the Snail Kite is experiencing a decreasing population trend. In Florida, the species has faced a dramatic decline. This decline is primarily attributed to changes in water management in the Everglades and other parts of Florida, along with threats from pesticides, nutrient runoff, and invasive plant species like melaleuca, which hinder their foraging efforts​​​​. The Snail Kite is highly adapted to its environment, with a diet primarily consisting of large freshwater snails, particularly the apple snails. These birds are known for their unique hunting strategy, which involves flying over open water to spot and catch snails up to 6 inches deep. When apple snails are scarce, Snail Kites may also hunt small turtles. Their hunting technique is quite remarkable; they swoop down from about twenty feet in the air and use their long, sharp claws to snatch the snails from the water. To extract the snail from its shell, they use their slender, curved bill while balancing on one foot, holding the snail with the other foot. Interestingly, despite their skilled hunting abilities, they often miss their prey and are accustomed to making several attempts to catch food​​. Regarding their habitat, Snail Kites are found in freshwater wetlands, preferring areas with large bodies of water to spot apple snails, as well as regions with young, sparse vegetation like sawgrass and spikerushes for nesting. These birds migrate between areas, following the availability of their preferred prey. In the United States, they are primarily found in Florida, where they are considered Federally Endangered. Internationally, their range extends to Central and South America. Their nesting sites typically require the presence of scattered shrubs and trees. Unlike most other raptors, Snail Kites nest in colonies and roost communally, often with other waterbirds such as herons and Anhingas​​​​.

Privacy Policy, Legal Notices and Copyright 2016-2024. Engage the Exotic TM, All Rights Reserved.