male; dark-plumages; white rump; orange bill base (Panama; 2008-06-20)

Snail Kite
Rostrhamus sociabilis

Native Range: Latin America

Notes: a gregarious species of freshwater wetlands; eats apple snails (genus Pomacea) almost exclusively, and has a strongly hooked bill ideally suited to extracting the snail from its shell; strong sexual dimorphism with the adult male being dark blue-grey in plumage and the female being much browner and streaked; barely reaches North America, where it is considered an andangered species in the Everglades of southern Florida.

young male perched; not yet fully dark-plumaged (Panama; 2008-06-20)

female or juvenile; browner overal; light eye-stripe (Panama; 2008-06-20)

white vent area as well as rump area (Panama; 2008-06-20)

note the strongly hooked upper mandible (Panama; 2008-06-20)

adult male; note the bright orange legs, face (Panama; 2008-06-20)

white rump usually evident even in poor light (Panama; 2008-06-20)

white rump; pale underwings (Brazil; 2007-11-09)

female; hooked bill with yellow base; red iris (Brazil; 2007-11-09)

orange-yelow legs; yellow base of bill (Brazil; 2007-11-09)

female; streaked underparts (Brazil; 2007-11-09)

female posing for a portrait (Brazil; 2007-11-09)