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Ictinia plumbea

Plumbeous Kite

  • Order: Accipitriformes
  • Family: Accipitridae
  • Monotypic

Authors: Yu, Hilary

Ictinia plumbea

São Leopoldo, Rio Grande do Sul, Brazil; 19 December 2010 © Paulo Fenalti

Plumbeous Kite is a slender, gray raptor of forests and forest edges. It is apparently resident throughout much of northern South America, with migratory populations north to Mexico and perhaps south to northern Argentina. It closely resembles the highly migratory Mississippi Kite (I. mississippiensis), which occurs within its range during migration and winter. Plumbeous is darker gray overall than Mississippi, lacks the white secondary patches of that species, and has unique rufous tones on the inner webs of the primaries. It feeds on insects from a perch or while in flight over the forest, particularly over the canopy or along edges. Some Plumbeous Kites also follow primates to prey on insects that are flushed by the monkeys. The stick nest of a breeding pair is placed high in a tree.

Recommended Citation

Yu, Hilary. 2012. Plumbeous Kite (Ictinia plumbea), Neotropical Birds Online (T. S. Schulenberg, Editor). Ithaca: Cornell Lab of Ornithology; retrieved from Neotropical Birds Online:

This map is based on the maps available from the NatureServe InfoNatura website. The data for these maps are provided by NatureServe in collaboration with Robert Ridgely, James Zook, The Nature Conservancy - Migratory Bird Program, Conservation International - CABS, World Wildlife Fund - US, and Environment Canada - WILDSPACE.

  • Migration/Movement:Intratropical Migrant
  • Primary Habitat:Tropical lowland evergreen forest edge
  • Foraging Strata:Aerial
  • Foraging Behavior:Glean
  • Diet:Terrestrial invertebrates
  • Sociality:Solitary/Pairs
  • Mating System:Monogamy
  • Nest Form:Platform
  • Clutch: 1 - 2
  • IUCN Status:Least Concern