This unique raptor is named for the prey it hunts: snails. They eat a fresh water snail called apple snail that can get as big as a softball. Their curved bill is the perfect equipment for digging inside the snail’s hard shell.
While cruising Crooked Tree Sanctuary’s lagoon one day, we saw several Rostrhamus sociabilis. This bird of prey can be found in parts of Central and South America, as well as the Caribbean and Florida.
We found apple snails (generally about the size of an Oreo) and their eggs all over the Belizean lagoon, but if the snail kite cannot find its #1 menu item, they will settle for crayfish.
Photo credit: Athena Alexander