A few important facts
Come learn about some interesting facts about snail kites. Follow the links below to learn more about snail kites.
1. Snail Kites are endangered
The snail kite (Rostrhamus sociabilis plumbeus) was listed as Federally endangered in 1967. Historically, snail kites were found throughout Florida, as far north as the panhandle. Due to the loss and degradation of wetlands, snail kite numbers have declined. Over half of the Greater Everglades Ecosystem has been drained for agriculture and urban development. Changes in the volume, timing, and duration of freshwater has left the snail kite vulnerable.
2. Highly specialized feeder
Snail kites are a highly specialized feeder. Their primary food are freshwater apple snails. They have very specialized bills that are curved to extract snail meat. In Florida there are two types of apples snails; one is native and the other is introduced. During cold weather events, when snails become less available, the snail kite has been known to prey upon turtles and fish.
3. Different color plumage
While males and females are roughly the same size, their plumage (feathers) are different colors. Adult males (left) are slate colored, while adult females (right) are brown with white or buffy streaks on their breast and face.
Links to more information on snail kites
All About Birds: http://www.allaboutbirds.org/guide/Snail_Kite/id
Birds of North America Online Account: https://birdsna.org/Species-Account/bna/species/snakit/introduction