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Everglades snail kite (FL DPS)

The Everglades snail kite (Rostrhamus sociabilis plumbeus) historically bred as far north as Crescent Lake and Lake Panasoffke in north-central Florida and as far west as the Wakulla River [1]. The initiatiation of its population decline is not known, but it was still common in central and south Florida during the early 1900s when groups of up to 100 were seen. The population was reduced to 50-100 birds in 1945 and 50-75 birds in 1954. It appears to have reached its lowest population level between 1950 and 1965 [1, 2]. The population began increasing in the late 1970s, reaching 3,577 birds in 1999 before dropping to 1,610 in 2003 [2, 3].

[1] U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. 1999. South Florida Multi-Species Recovery Plan. Southeastern Region, Atlanta, GA
[2] Bennetts, R.E, W.A. Link, J.R. Sauer and P.W. Sykes, JR. 1999. Factors influencing counts in an annual survey of Snail Kites in Florida. Auk 116:316-323
[3] Martin, J., W. Kitchens, and M. Speirs. 2003. Snail Kite demography annual report: 2003. United States Fish and Wildl. Serv., Vero Beach, FL.

Banner photo © Phillip Colla