Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Snail Kite

The snail kite is a raptor that is pretty rare in the United States. The only population of snail kites in the U.S. is in southern Florida. Otherwise the snail kite is found in parts of the Caribbean, Central America and south America. In Florida locally endangered because wetland draining and water level controls in southern Florida are depleting the available prey of the kite.
When it comes to prey the snail kite is a specialist. Their diet consists primarily of apple snails. Their long thin beak is perfect adapted for sliding into the snail shell to get the meat inside. In Florida snail kites have been spotted eating other prey, such as turtles, crayfish and rodents, when snails can not be found but the population of the snail kites is directly affected by the population of apple snails. I photographed this female near the Loxahatchee NWR in Florida. I know that it was a female because the males are more of a blue-gray color instead of brown like the females. This was a life bird for me.


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12 comments:

Dave said...

Brilliant, Brilliant

I saw this species in Venezuela earlier this year and got a few OK images. Yours here with the snails are perfect, very well done. I saw most of my birds going to roost in the hundreds but only saw one bird perched

TexWisGirl said...

beautiful!

Crafty Gardener said...

You were lucky to photograph the snail kite.

Leslie: said...

Great shots!

Leslie
abcw team

Roger Owen Green said...

that bird is a SPECIALIST!

ROG, ABC Wednesday team

mick said...

Great photos of the Kite and its a shame that there is so little habitat left.

Adam Jones said...

What a lovely bird and great shots.

Rohrerbot said...

The Snail Kite....or any Kites are fascinating birds to find out and about. Great shots!

ArtMuseDog and Carol said...

Wow! Fantastic bird and photography ~ very informative as well ~ (A Creative Harbor)

Mama Pajama said...

huh...I've never heard of a snail kite - until now!

Stewart M said...

Great picture - I wonder how long natural selection takes to evolve a bird with such a restricted diet?

Cheers and thanks for linking to WBW - Stewart M - Melbourne

i stora drag said...

Very nice photos! A new kind of kite to me!
Greetings Pia