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
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.