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The Everglade snail kite is a medium-sized hawk with a wingspan of about 45 inches, very similar to the marsh hawk but without wavering, tilting flight. The beak is slender and very hooked. The adult males are slate gray with black head and wing tips, a white patch at the base of a square tail, and red legs. The female has a buffy body, heavily streaked with dark lines, a white line above the eye, a white tail patch, yellow legs, and red eyes. The immatures resemble the females, only they are darker and their eyes are brown. The snail kite is uniquely adapted for a diet almost exclusively of freshwater apple snails (Pomacea paludosa). As of 1987, there were only five documented occurrences of Everglade snail kites preying on non-snail items. Exclusive utilization of the genus Pomacea is apparently because this is the only large Florida snail occurring near the surface. The kite extracts the snail from the shell by means of its greatly curved beak.

Scientific Name

Rostrhamus sociabilis plumbeus
Common Name
Everglade Snail Kite
FWS Category

Location in Taxonomic Tree

Identification Numbers



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