Hook-billed Kite: Unusual tropical kite with long paddle-shaped wings. Sluggish, retiring kite that generally remains concealed within foliage of trees. Occurs in two morphs, gray and black, which is very rare to Texas. Underparts and underwings are heavily barred. Tail is banded. Yellow legs, feet.
Range and Habitat
Hook-billed Kite: Prefers dense brushy woods on the riparian corridor along the Rio Grande and the woodlands of extreme southern Texas.
The Hook-billed Kite has a large range, estimated globally at 9,800,000 square kilometers. Native to the Americas and nearby island nations, this bird prefers subtropical or tropical forest or shrubland ecosystems. The global population of this bird is estimated at 50,000 to 500,000 individuals and while it does show signs of decline, they are not severe enough to necessitate inclusion on the IUCN Red List. For this reason, the current evaluation status of the Hook-billed Kite is Least Concern.
The Hook-billed Kite has a very musical whistle, resembling notes of an American Oriole. When defending territory, the kite utters harsh chattering and screaming notes.
There is only one species, but within that species there is probably more individual variation in colour and in size of bill than in any other species of diurnal raptor.
This bird often has a favorite feeding perch, marked by a pile of empty snail shells on the ground below.
A group of kites has many collective nouns, including a "brood", "kettle", "roost", "stooping", and "string" of kites.