The Everglade Kite is found only in Florida in the U.S., and there confined to the tropical Everglades. It is also found, however, in Cuba, eastern Mexico, Central America and eastern South America south to Argentina. In the Everglades its main food is the fresh-water snail. The beak of this Kite enables it to quickly remove the snail from its shell, giving it the name "Snail Hawk".
The Everglade Kite is 18 inches long with a wingspan of about 45 inches. Male plumage is dark blue-gray, with a black head and black wing tips. The plumage darkest on the wings and tail, although the tail has a patch of white at the base. The tail is tipped gray and the eyes are red. Females are buff colored, streaked heavily with dark lines. They have a tail patch similar to the males, red eyes, and a white line above the eye. Immatures resemble the females.
Courtship between kites consists of aerobatic displays and stick carrying (yes, stick carrying!). Nests are built in small shrubs, trees, or stands of grass. The nests are built in colonies, although sometimes a solitary nest has been observed. The nest is roughly 13 inches in diameter, made of sticks, twigs, dried grasses and stalks. They are rather bulky and slapdash looking, built 3 to 10 feet above the water.
2 to 3 eggs are laid between February and July, off-white and spotted with various shades of brown. Both parents incubate the eggs for about 28 days. In about 3 weeks, the young are almost fully feathered, and in another week they are ready to fly.
The Everglade Kite has only been recorded to eat anything other than the fresh-water snail 5 times. They are endangered even in their small range, from habitat destruction and pesticide runoff.