Hook-billed Kite

Chondrohierax uncinatus




Kites, Eagles and Hawks (Accipitridae)

Code 4


Code 6



Egg Color:

Buff-white with red-brown markings

Number of Eggs:

2 - 3

Incubation Days:

35 - 45

Egg Incubator:

Both sexes

Nest Location:

In trees.

Nest Material:






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 with the dark morph extremely rare in Texas. Light morph male is dark gray with white barring on underparts and tail. Light morph female is dark brown above with bright rufous and white barring on underparts. Juvenile is dark brown with brown-barred white underparts, white collar, brown eyes, and two or more gray tail bars.

Range and Habitat

Hook-billed Kite: From Texas the breeding range extends south, on both coasts of mainland Mexico and Central America to Colombia. In South America, they are found west of the Andes from Colombia to south Ecuador. On the Atlantic slope kites are resident south to southern Brazil, Bolivia and northern Argentina. Also resident in Cuba, Trinidad and Grenada.

Breeding and Nesting

Hook-billed Kite: Flimsy platform of sticks is built by both sexes. Lays two to three buff-white eggs marked with red-brown. Incubation by both sexes. Semialtricial young stay in nest 35-45 days and are fed by both sexes.

Foraging and Feeding

Hook-billed Kite: Perches and climbs among branches of trees in search of tree snails which it holds down with its foot while using hooked bill to break open shell and extract snail. Also eats frogs, salamanders, and insects.


Hook-billed Kite: Has a musical, oriole-like 2-3 note whistle. Staccato or rattling "ke-ke-ke-ke" when disturbed.

Similar Species

Hook-billed Kite: Gray Hawk closely resembles male light morph Hook-billed Kite but has much smaller bill and is lighter gray overall.


Belly, undertail coverts, chest, flanks, and foreneck.

Similar to the upper part of the human neck, located at the back of the crown.
Parts of a Standing bird X
Head Feathers and Markings X
Parts of a Flying bird X