Members of the genus Ictinia are medium-sized kites. Their wings are long and pointed, and their tails are medium-sized, square or slightly forked. Te bill is small to medium, with an inconspicuous ‘tooth’ on each edge of the upper mandible. The legs are short; and the talons short but strongly curved. The general colour is grey.
Immatures differ from the adults in colour, but quickly moult to an adult-like plumage.
Although this is, in many ways, a classic kite, the genus is not particularly close to any other. There are two species ranging from central United States to Argentina; those in the cooler parts of range are migratory.
Immatures are black edged with white on the crown and on the sides of the head. The back, wings and tail are black, with whitish tips. The tail has three white bars. The underside is white or buff heavily streaked with black. The inner webs of the primaries are white, marbled with grey and with a rufous tinge.
Listen to the sound of Plumbeous Kite
Copyright remark: Most sounds derived from xeno-canto
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|size min.:||33||cm||size max.:||38||cm|
|incubation min.:||32||days||incubation max.:||33||days|
|fledging min.:||38||days||fledging max.:||33||days|
Nest trees are dry season deciduous. Because nest building and incubation takes (in venezuela) place late in the dry season, the trees are usually leafless making the nests conspicuous. Nests become less conspicuous during the nestling period when nest trees leafed out at the onset of the rainy season. Nests averages 25.5 m above ground while nest trees averages 30.0 m tall. Nests are in forks created by two or more limbs, usually against the bole or on major limbs, but sometimes in slender limbs toward the outer part
of the crown (n = 4). Nests arre high and exposed to sun and wind. Some nests are built on large clumps of bromeliads. Nests are built of dry sticks, lined with sprigs of green leaves, both sexes participate in construction. throughout incubation and nestling periods adults periodically add green sprigs to nests. Kites nested in the same nests or in other nearby trees from year to year. Supposedly only single-egg clutches and broods of one are laid.
During the incubation period, one adult or the other is on the nest nearly constantly. When no kite is on the nest, adults remain vigilant, with one usually perched in or near the nest tree or soaring nearby. Both sexes incubate, switching roles periodically throughout the day. On average, one adult provided 61% of incubation and the other 39%. Pair members caught their own prey throughout the incubation phase.
Both parents feed the young, one, presumably the female, spending much of the time ‘standing guard’ in the top of the nesting tree; this individual also broods the young at night. Other birds, including toucans and vultures, are chased away when they approach the nest. In weather when the parents can soar and easily catch insects, the young may be fed as often as ten times an hour, which, for a bird of prey, is very high.
Video Plumbeous Kite
copyright: R. Garrigues
The Plumbeous Kite can be found in the tropical zone of the New World, usually below 1,000 or 1.500 meter, from east central Mexico south to northern Argentina and Paraguay. In the northern- and southern-most parts of its range, it is migratory – most of the population of Mexico and Central America wintering in South America. In Argentina it is at least partly migratory, arriving in its breeding territory abundantly about the middle of September, and leaving, perhaps for the Amazon area, in autumn. It is present throughout the year in Surinam, breeding in March?April, the opposite of the more southern area where it breeds in October-November.