snail Kite

Snail Kite

Seen by our tour guide Leo Chaves in one of our birding trips while visiting Hacienda Solimar which is a birder’s paradise in Costa Rica, tropical dry forest and wet lands in palo verde.

Common Name: Snail Kite
scientific name: Rosthramus sociabilis

The Snail Kites are 36 to 45 cm (14 to 18 in) long with a 120 cm (47 in) wingspan. They weigh from 300 to 570 grams (11 to 20 oz). They have long, broad, and rounded wings. It is long-tailed, with a white rump and undertail coverts. The dark, deeply hooked beak is an adaptation to its diet.

The adult male has dark blue-gray 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 adult female, but the crown is streaked.

It flies slowly with its head facing downwards, looking for its main food, the large apple snails. For this reason, it is considered a molluscivore.

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