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42. Cuban Kite

Chondrohierax wilsonii


This small raptor has only ever been recorded on the island of Cuba, last being observed in the Humboldt Park on the east of the island.

There has been much debate over its taxonomic status, but recent studies confirm the Cuban Kite as a distinct species, diverging from the mainland lineage between 400,000 and 1.5million years ago. The bird feeds on coloured tree snails and slugs, which it finds in the forest undergrowth, for which its deeply hooked bill is thought to be adapted for. Very little is known about the species’ breeding habits and ecological requirements. The kite is critically endangered and incredibly elusive, with only three confirmed sightings in the last decade. Forest destruction and degradation is the leading cause of population decline, as well as the reduction in prey snail numbers and persecution by local farmers. Its apparently tame nature makes it an easy target for shooters.

  • Order: Accipitriformes
  • Family: Accipitridae
  • Population: 70-400
  • Trend: decreasing
  • Size: 38-43 cm

EDGE Score

EDGE Score: 5.26 (?)
ED Score: 11.07 (?)
GE / IUCN Red List (?)
Not Evaluated Data Deficient Least Concern Near Threatened Vulnerable Endangered Critically Endangered Extinct in the Wild Extinct


Endemic to Cuba. The latest sightings in 2004 and 2010 have been recorded in Humboldt Park in eastern Cuba.

Habitat and Ecology

This species prefer forests with tall trees, near rivers and below and altitude of 500 m.

Find out more

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This wordcloud illustrates the threats facing this species. The size of each word indicates the extent of a species range that is affected by that threat (larger size means a greater area is affected). The colour of the word indicates how much that threat impacts the species (darker shades of red mean the threat is more severe).

Habitat change Crops Hunting Logging

Threat wordcloud key:

Small area affected
Large area affected
Least severe
Most severe
Severity unknown
Source: The IUCN List of Threatened Species. Version 2017.1.
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