• Skip to Content
  • Skip to Main Navigation
  • Skip to Local Navigation
  • Skip to Search
  • Skip to Sitemap
  • Skip to Footer
Help develop a Bird ID tool!

Snail Kite

Rostrhamus sociabilis ORDER: ACCIPITRIFORMES FAMILY: ACCIPITRIDAE

IUCN Conservation Status: Least Concern

A bird of tropical marshlands, the Snail Kite makes it to the United States only in southern Florida. This specialized hawk feeds primarily on snails

Learn About Celebrate Urban Birds!
Be a Better Birder Tutorial 3

Appearance

Hawks
Hawks
Typical Voice

Adult Description

  • Medium-sized hawk.
  • Narrow, strongly down-curved bill.
  • Broad wings.
  • Short, square tail.
  • White at base of tail.
  • Male all sooty gray.
  • Female striped.

Immature Description

Juvenile similar to adult female, but with more scaly markings on back and yellow, not red legs.

Range Map Help

Snail Kite Range Map
View dynamic map of eBird sightings

Field MarksHelp

  • Male at nest

    Snail Kite

    Male at nest
    • © Fred K.Truslow / CLO
  • Immature

    Snail Kite

    Immature
    • © L.Page Brown / CLO

Similar Species

  • Northern Harrier also flies low over marshes and has a white rump, but it is more slender, has a long tail, and teeters from side-to-side as it flies.
  • Crested Caracara has white at base of tail, but also has white chest and white patches in the wings.