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Male Snail Kite
Copyright 2011, J Turner MD

Adult male Snail Kite

The Snail kite is the most endangered raptor in the United States. They can be found only in central and southern Florida (they do have much larger populations in South America). They are beautiful and elegant with a wingspan of nearly 4 feet. When I was there, they were just beginning to nest. The male does several things to try to impress the female. One is a courtship flight that ends with a steep climb and rapid dive. He will also bring snails and nesting materials to the female. They can be accessed only by boat. I went to a workshop to learn special techniques used to photograph birds in flight.