Male Snail Kite captured by Z 9 / 500PF w/TC-14eIII

The Snail Kite is a very specialized species eating one particular aquatic snail. The loss of that food source an exotic coming in and its habitat has put the Snail Kite on the endangered species list. We were very fortunate to spend time with five individuals and watch firsthand a small part of their fight for survival. Finding, snatching, and eating snails as its name implies, is a big part of it. Its bill and talons are specialized to grab and pull the snail from its shell. Perched on a twig on a floating island that you wouldn’t think would support its weight, they are able to pull that snail out and consume it in seconds flat. It takes longer to wipe all the slim from their mandible than it did to consume it. They are a gorgeous and spectacular part of our wild heritage!

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