Snail Kite (Rostrhamus sociabilis)

Snail Kite, Rostrhamus sociabilis, are a bird of prey in the family Accipitridae, which also includes eagles, hawks, and Old World vultures.

Male Snail Kite

Distribution / Range

The Snail Kite is a resident breeder in tropical South America, the Caribbean, and central and southern Florida, USA. (Please refer to the distribution map below.)

This Kite is a bird of freshwater wetlands.


The Snail Kite is an endangered species in the Florida Everglades in the U.S., with a population of less than 400 breeding pairs. Research has demonstrated that water level control in the Everglades is depleting the population of Apple Snails.

Nesting / Breeding

They nest in a bush or on the ground. The average clutch consists of 3-4 eggs.

Snail Kite Distribution Map


It is 45cm long with a 120cm wingspan. It is a gregarious species, forming large winter roosts.

The Snail Kite has long, broad, and rounded wings. It is long-tailed, with a white rump and undertail coverts. Its dark, deeply hooked beak is an adaptation to its diet, which consists almost exclusively of Apple Snails.

The adult male has dark blue-grey plumage, with darker flight feathers. The legs and cere are red.

The adult female has dark brown upperparts and heavily streaked pale underparts. She has a whitish face with darker areas behind and above the eye. The legs and cere are yellow or orange.

The immature is similar to the adult female, but the crown is streaked.

The flight is slow, with the Kite’s head facing downwards as it looks for snails.

Snail Kite Female
Snail Kite
Snail Kite
Young Male Snail Kite
Snail Kite in flight

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Gordon Ramel

Gordon is an ecologist with two degrees from Exeter University. He's also a teacher, a poet and the owner of 1,152 books. Oh - and he wrote this website.

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