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Field guide to the rare animals of Florida. The Florida population endures a peak egg laying period 81 days before the rainy season in the middle of May, when they can lay up to four eggs per clutch. Also, the degradation of water quality from agriculture and urban runoff alters vegetation and limits the snail kite’s ability to locate food or find nesting substrates (U.S. Males are slate gray with red eyes and orange legs, which turn more reddish during breeding season. The Everglade Snail Kite is a bird of prey with a very particular appetite: it feeds almost exclusively on apple snails, a freshwater mollusk that occurs in Central and South Florida wetlands including the Everglades. However, this species is not generally threatened over its extensive range. U.S. However, the reduced extent of suitable present-day habitat makes all of these species more vulnerable to natural as well as human-caused threats. Lobate Lac Scale Lobate Lac Scale. (1999, May 18). They can primarily be found in the Kissimmee Valley, St. Johns River headwaters, Lake Okeechobee, Loxahatchee National Wildlife Refuge, Water Conservation Areas 2A, 2B, 3A, 3B, in Broward, Palm Beach and Dade counties; and sections of Big Cypress National Preserve and Everglades National Park (Florida Natural Areas Inventory 2001). 1/11. With more than 200 square miles of wetland marshes, the lake’s habitat is second in size to only the Everglades themselves. Snail kites have a unique curved bill which is used to pluck snails out of their shells. While their method of introduction is unknown, the insect is known to infect a minimum of 94 native tree species in the Everglades like the wax myrtle. Everglades National Park preserves only about one-fifth of the original extent of the Everglades. Throughout its history in the United States, the Everglades Snail Kite thrived in South Florida with access to endless marsh and productive wetlands. Everglade snail kites inhabit shallow freshwater marshes and shallow grassy shorelines of lakes. Through effective research and technical knowledge, we provide timely information and guidance to inform decision-making for resource managers and decision makers. The excessive drainage of the Everglades and the increased development of Miami-Dade, Palm Beach, and Broward counties have reduced snail kite habitat over time (U.S. Males do most of the nest building which are built over water to reduce access to the nest by predators. 7, Sec. U.S. 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. 1995. The subspecies from Florida and Cuba (Rostrhamus sociabilis plumbeus) was first listed The Snail Kite (formerly known as the Everglades Snail Kite) was listed as endangered in 1967. KISS 01252013 IMG_7518.JPG. Once known as the Everglades Snail Kite, the Snail Kite can be found gliding slowly over aquatic vegetation in shallow lakes and marshes of Florida’s Everglades, looking for Apple Snails. 33034, South Florida Multi-Species Recovery Plan. Lake Okeechobee is Florida’s largest lake and a stronghold for the endangered Everglade Snail Kite, a Snail Kite subspecies that can only be found in America’s Everglades. Research has demonstrated that water-level control in the Everglades is depleting the population of apple snails. Males bring food and nesting material as part of their mating behavior (courtship). The bill is a distinguishing characteristic for field identification of adults as well as juveniles. The Snail kite is a bird of prey of the same family (Accipitridae) as Old World vultures, eagles and hawks and is so named after its main food. Image credit: Scott Nelson/Flickr. Our team conducts range-wide snail kite population monitoring and research. The loss of freshwater to seepage, flood-control releases to tidal waters, and extraction for irrigation and urban water supply has led to salt-water intrusion in some places. Sykes, P. W., Jr. 1987. Snail kites breed and lay eggs yearly. Males are slate gray with red eyes and orange legs, which turn more reddish during breeding season. The endangered snail kite (Rostrhamus sociabilis) is a raptor found in central and southern Florida. The Everglade snail kite is a mid-sized raptor that can reach a length of 14.2-15.4 inches (36-39 centimeters) (Sykes et al. The entire North American range extends from the Upper St. Johns River (near Orlando), down the Kissimmee River Valley, south to Lake Okeechobee, Arthur R. Marshall Loxahatchee National Wildlife Refuge, Water Conservation Areas 2 and 3 and Everglades National Park. This Snail Kite is surely one of the more bizarre raptors of the world, but it is one that is emblematic of the Everglades, so much so that for years it was called the Everglades Kite. Fish & Wildlife Service 1999). Rather, they use their feet to capture snails at or below the surface of the water. The main threat to the Everglade snail kite in Florida is the loss and degradation of wetlands. 1995). 6, W1/2 Sec. Nearly continuous flooding of wetlands is needed to support apple snail populations that in turn sustain foraging by Snail Kites. The Everglade snail kite nests throughout the year, with a peak nesting season between the months of February and July. Regulation of water stages in lakes and canals is particularly important to maintain the balance of vegetative communities required to sustain Snail Kites. Homestead, FL Dense vegetation is not conducive to efficient foraging. Fish & Wildlife ServiceU.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, 1999, 40001 State Road 9336 http://www.fnai.org/FieldGuide/pdf/Rostrhamus_sociabilis_plumbeus.PDF. It is no longer called that in recognition that it occurs also over much of South America … The Snail Kite uses its slender, curved bill to extract its primary prey, the apple snail, from its shell. The highly specialized Snail Kite flies on broad wings over tropical wetlands as it hunts large freshwater snails. A dark band on a white tail stages in lakes and canals is particularly important maintain. Media accounts habitat makes all of these species more vulnerable to natural as well as juveniles communities required to snail... Control in the United States, the fish and Wildlife Service, 1999, 40001 state Road 9336 Homestead FL! As juveniles and field biologists a dark band on a white tail as “ habitat. Displays include flying with a black tip one of the Greater Everglades,. 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