Sunday, April 10, 2022

Snail Kite

On our trip to Ecuador we had a nine hour layover with Copa Airlines in Panama City, Panama. We arranged for a guide to pick us up at the airport and takes us to the Panama Canal for a power boat ride out to what they call the "Monkey Islands," hills turned islands when the area was flooded for the Panama Canal. 

During our boat ride we saw quite a few snail kites, a bird I'd never heard of before. It is found in portions of Florida, the Caribbean, portions of Mexico and Central America, and large portions of South America, particularly the eastern side. The snail kite is named for its predominant food source, fresh-water apple snails, and its heavily curved bill is an adaptation to help them eat the snails. 

As indicated by photos above, we got our best look at female snail kites. The female had dark brown upperparts, heavily streaked underparts, legs and cere are yellow to orange and the iris is brownish/orange. 
Males, which we saw at more of a distance, standing in a large tree, have dark gray/blue plumage, red/orange cere and legs and a white tail with dark bands. 

1 comment:

  1. Getting a close-up view of this bird makes the trip to monkey island a little more interesting for me, but not much. Without a long lens, it was a bit of a dull ride. Cool bird, though.