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Snail Kite

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Snail Kite
Conservation status
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Aves
Order: Falconiformes
Family: Accipitridae
Subfamily: Milvinae (disputed)
Genus: Rostrhamus
Lesson, 1830
Species: R. sociabilis
Binomial name
Rostrhamus sociabilis
(Vieillot, 1817)

The Snail Kite (Rostrhamus sociabilis) is a bird of prey. It is in the family Accipitridae, which also includes the eagles, hawks, and Old World vultures.


Adult male in Sao Paulo, Brazil

Snail Kites are 36 to 48 cm (14 to 19 in) long with a 99–120 cm (39–47 in) wingspan. They weigh from 300 to 570 grams (11 to 20 oz).[2] They have long, broad, and rounded wings. Its tail is long with a white rump. The dark, deeply hooked beak measures 2.9–4 cm (1.1–1.6 in).

It flies slowly with its head facing downwards. It looks down to see its food. It mostly eats large apple snails.

The Snail Kite lives in tropical South America, the Caribbean, and central and southern Florida in the United States.

It nests in a bush or on the ground. It lays 3–4 eggs.


  1. BirdLife International (2004). Rostrhamus sociabilis. 2006 IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. IUCN 2006. Retrieved on 11 May 2006.