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Hook-billed Kite

From Opus

Photo © by HedonArenillas, Ecuador, May, 2018
Photo © by Hedon
Arenillas, Ecuador, May, 2018

Includes Cuban Kite and Grenada Kite

Chondrohierax uncinatus


[edit] Identification

39–51 cm (15¼-20 in)
Light and dark morphs and confusing intermediates. One constant is transluscent, barred primaries.

[edit] Variations

Cuban birds have sexual dimorphism, male with gray upperside and barred underside, female similar in brownish colors. Juveniles black above, white below, with white extending to hindneck. Larger bill by far than other forms.

[edit] Distribution

ImmaturePhoto © by SueOFort Sherman, Panama, October 2011
Photo © by SueO
Fort Sherman, Panama, October 2011

North, Central and South America.

In North America breeds only in extreme southern Texas along the Rio Grande between Falcon Dam and the Santa Ana National Wildlife Refuge. Breeds throughout Mexico and south to Panama and in South America to from Colombia and Venezuela to western Peru, Bolivia and northern Argentina. Also breeds in the Caribbean in Oriente Province of eastern Cuba, on Grenada and Trinidad.


[edit] Taxonomy

[edit] Subspecies

Photo © by mtbirderEl Tuito, Mexico, March 2014
Photo © by mtbirder
El Tuito, Mexico, March 2014

There are three subspecies[1]:

  • C. u. uncinatus:
  • C. u. uncinatus wilsonii: Cuban Kite:
  • C. u. uncinatus mirus: Grenada Kite:

Both of these last two subspecies are considered to be full species by some authors[3], [4] and both are critically endangered.

Two additional subspecies: aquilonis and megarhynchus are generally considered invalid[2].

[edit] Habitat

Dark morphPhoto © by Rodrigo ConteBrasilia, Brazil, December 2015
Dark morph
Photo © by Rodrigo Conte
Brasilia, Brazil, December 2015

Prefers the lower canopy in tropical rainforest and cloud forest, secondary-growth and riverine woodlands, swamps and savannas.

[edit] Behaviour

Perches high in trees and can be difficult to see. Not a shy bird.

[edit] Diet

Their main diet consists of snails; Cuban birds are also known to eat slugs.

[edit] References

  1. Clements, J. F., T. S. Schulenberg, M. J. Iliff, D. Roberson, T. A. Fredericks, B. L. Sullivan, and C. L. Wood. 2017. The eBird/Clements checklist of birds of the world: v2017, with updates to August 2017. Downloaded from
  2. Avibase
  3. Handbook of the Birds of the World Alive (retrieved February 2016 and June 2017)
  4. The Peregrine Fund

[edit] External Links


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