Open Spaces: Endangered Species Spotlight: Swallow-Tailed Kite

Endangered Species Spotlight: Swallow-Tailed Kite

Started in 2006 by the United States Congress, Endangered Species Day sets aside the third Friday in May to recognize the importance of endangered species and is an occasion to educate the public on how to protect them. This year, Endangered Species Day falls on May 18th.  In the weeks leading up to Endangered Species Day, we'll be putting a spotlight on a few endangered and threatened species for you to learn more about what makes them unique. And there's still time to enter the Endangered Species Day Youth Art Contest!

Swallow Tailed KiteSwallow-Tail Kite in flight in Big Cypress, Florida.  Photo: Artur Pedziwilk, Creative Commons

Though not federally listed, the swallow-tailed kite is listed as endangered in the state of South Carolina, where the primary threat to its is habitat loss and pesticide use.

Landowners are protecting nesting areas and roosting sites for the swallow-tailed kite, especially in southeastern timberlands.

These birds can be seen gliding above forests of loblolly pines and bald cypress trees in marshlands.The raptor feeds on beetles, dragonflies, and fire ants.  They can even drink water in flight!

Every year, thousands of people throughout the country celebrate Endangered Species Day at parks, wildlife refuges, zoos, aquariums, botanical gardens, libraries, schools and community centers. Visit the Endangered Species Day website find an event near you.

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Last updated: June 21, 2012