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Aug 27 2011

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Pearl Kite (Gampsonyx swainsonii)

Pearl Kite

[order] ACCIPITRIFORMES | [family] Accipitridae | [latin] Gampsonyx swainsonii | [authority] Vigors, 1825 | [UK] Pearl Kite | [FR] Elanion perle | [DE] Perlaar | [ES] Elanio Enano | [NL] Parelwouw

Subspecies

Monotypic species

Genus

Members of the genus Gampsonyx are very small kites. Their general proportions are falcon-like; their wings are pointed. The feet and talons are also well developed for a kite. They have a distinctive colour pattern, similar in both adult and young and superficially like that of some of the Microhierax Falconets. The genus Gampsonyx has been variously linked with falcons or with kites, but belongs with the latter, and is quite close the the Elanus genus. There is but one species, which lives in New World tropical savannahs from Nicaragua to Argentina

Physical charateristics

The adult has a white forehead, washed with dark orange; the crown is deep grey-black. Around the head is a narrow white collar bordered behind with reddish brown. The wings and tail are like the crown, with a slight purplish or chocolate cast on the shoulders. Secondaries are strongly edged and tipped with white. Primaries are white on the inner webs. Below, including the wing linings, is pure white; the cheeks being washed with dark orange. There are a few black feathers on the sides of the chest and the thighs are rusty brown with a small rufous area. The eyes are chestnut or rich red, the bill black, and the feet yellow.

Listen to the sound of Pearl Kite

[audio:http://www.planetofbirds.com/MASTER/ACCIPITRIFORMES/Accipitridae/sounds/Pearl Kite.mp3]

Copyright remark: Most sounds derived from xeno-canto


wingspan min.: 50 cm wingspan max.: 58 cm
size min.: 20 cm size max.: 28 cm
incubation min.: 34 days incubation max.: 35 days
fledging min.: 33 days fledging max.: 35 days
broods: 2   eggs min.: 2  
      eggs max.: 5  

Range

South America : North, Amazonia, also West Nicaragua. The Pearl Kite is found in semi-arid or deciduous woodland and savannah in South America from the Colombia east through Guyana and south in Paraguay and northern Argentina, west to eastern Bolivia and Peru. An isolated population exists in western Ecuador and north-western Peru and another in western Nicaragua.

Habitat

This species is found in open savanna habitat adjacent to deciduous woodland.

Reproduction

A nest is built relatively close to the ground (varying 5-20 meter) at the extreme tip of a small branch of a scrub-oak or similar tree in woodland. The nest is often not concealed and has the appearance of that of a mockingbird. A small cup 20 cm wide and 10 cm deep. It is composed of small dry twigs loosely laid together. The clutch is 2-4 brown-marked white eggs, incubated mainly by the female for 34-35 days to hatching, with a further 5 weeks to fledging. There may be two broods in a season.

Feeding habits

The falcon-like proportions and sharp talons of this little raptor indicate a departure from the usual feeding habits of kites, and its main food supply seems to consist of small birds. It is also known to eat lizards and large insects.

Video Pearl Kite

httpv://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8y9UFl9QkWM

copyright: D. Ascanio


Conservation

This species has an extremely large range, and hence does not approach the thresholds for Vulnerable under the range size criterion (Extent of Occurrence <20,000 km2 combined with a declining or fluctuating range size, habitat extent/quality, or population size and a small number of locations or severe fragmentation). The population trend appears to be increasing, and hence the species does not approach the thresholds for Vulnerable under the population trend criterion (>30% decline over ten years or three generations). The population size may be small, but it is not believed to approach the thresholds for Vulnerable under the population size criterion (<10,000 mature individuals with a continuing decline estimated to be >10% in ten years or three generations, or with a specified population structure). For these reasons the species is evaluated as Least Concern.
The Pearl Kite is found in semi-arid or deciduous woodland and savannah in South America from the Colombia east through Guyana and south in Paraguay and northern Argentina, west to eastern Bolivia and Peru. An isolated population exists in western Ecuador and north-western Peru and another in western Nicaragua. In Suriname a rare bird, only records are from Nickerie.
Pearl Kite status Least Concern

Migration

Sedentary in all of its range, although yung disperse after fledging.

Distribution map

Pearl Kite distribution range map

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