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Plumbeous Kite Ictinia plumbea

  • Order: Accipitriformes
  • Family: Accipitridae
  • Monotypic
  • Authors: Hilary Yu


Geographic Variation

Monotypic, no variation throughout its range.

Related Species

Plumbeous Kite (Ictinia plumbea) and Mississippi Kite (Ictinia mississippiensis) comprise the only members of the genus Ictinia. Sutton (1944) classified mississippiensis as a subspecies of plumbea, but most authorities recognize each as a species. Some authorities (Thiollay 1994) consider the two to form a superspecies.

Accipitridae encompasses 217 species and includes the hawks, eagles, Old World vultures, and kites. On the basis of morphological data, three clades of kites traditionally were recognized: Milvinae (including Ictinia), Elaninae and Perninae. Phylogenetic analyses of DNA sequence data, from both nuclear and mitochondrial genesMolecular analyses, however, reveal the Perninae and Milvinae subfamilies to be polyphyletic (Lerner et al. 2005, Griffiths et al. 2007), and that many buteoine taxa are embedded within kites. The affinities of Ictinia within this radiation are not yet established, however. Lerner et al. (2005) place Ictinia as basal to a clade that includes Geranospiza, Rostrhamus, Buteogallus, Rupornis, Pseudastur, Parabuteo, Buteo, and Leucopternis. Griffiths et al. (2007) place Ictinia within a radiation that includes many of the same taxa, but identify Ictinia as sister to Butastur (an Old World genus).

Recommended Citation

Yu, H. (2012). Plumbeous Kite (Ictinia plumbea), version 1.0. In Neotropical Birds Online (T. S. Schulenberg, Editor). Cornell Lab of Ornithology, Ithaca, NY, USA.