Data for:
Citrus, Florida, United States

Accipitriformes > Accipitridae

Slender-billed Kite

Helicolestes hamatus

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Medium-sized, dark raptor with distinctive shape. Adult plumage is entirely slate gray with red legs; immature similar but shows some pale barring on underparts and tail. Note contrasting yellow eye and exceptionally long, decurved bill; in flight, shows very short tail, broad wings, and lack of any white in plumage. Inhabits swampy forests, where it perches quietly at lower and middle levels, preying on snails. Soars frequently but seldom high or for very long (note distinctive flight profile). Call is an explosive single note, falling in pitch and with complaining quality, much like call of Roadside Hawk but more nasal. Most similar to Snail Kite but has yellow (not red) eye, shorter tail with no white, and is generally found in and over closed-canopy forest habitats that Snail Kite avoids.



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Slender-billed Kite

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