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Kidadl Team

SEPTEMBER 02, 2021

15 Cuban Kite Facts You’ll Never Forget

Cuban kite facts talk about the decline in the number of these birds in the wild.

If you are interested in learning about different species of birds, then you are going to love reading about the Cuban kite. The Cuban kite (Chondrohierax wilsonii) is the rarest species of raptor found in Cuba. Formerly, the number of these birds living on the island was quite large. However, their population has drastically declined over the years and is now left with an extremely small population size. This species of kite is considered to be a subspecies of the hook-bill kite (Chondrohierax uncinatus). As a result, Chondrohierax uncinatus and Chondrohierax wilsonii shares quite a few characteristics. The Cuban kite belongs to the order Accipitriformes and phylum Chordata. Compared to other species of raptors, this kite is a medium-sized bird. The habitat of this species is forest-based and they are not known to migrate.

To know more about this species of bird, keep on reading. If you want to learn about other species of birds, check out griffon vulture facts and white hawk facts.

Cuban Kite Interesting Facts

What type of animal is a Cuban kite?

The Cuban kite (Chondrohierax wilsonii) is a type of bird. It is a subspecies of the hook-bill kite (Chondrohierax uncinatus). It is a bird of prey like a hawk or a falcon.

What class of animal does a Cuban kite belong to?

The Cuban kite (Chondrohierax wilsonii) belongs to the Aves class of the Animalia kingdom. It is a member of the family Accipitridae and the order Accipitriformes. The genus of this bird is Chondrohierax.

How many Cuban kites are there in the world?

These birds of prey are extremely rare and are currently listed as Critically Endangered. According to the data by the International Union for Conservation of Nature, or IUCN, Red List, the number of Cuban kites (Chondrohierax wilsonii) living in the world is somewhere between 50-249 individuals. The population trend is known to be declining.

Where does a Cuban kite live?

Cuban kite (Chondrohierax wilsonii) with a very small population distribution is endemic to Cuba. Previously, the Cuban kite range map was quite widespread on the island of Cuba. Currently, its population is known to be confined to eastern Cuba. In eastern Cuba, the bird is known to inhabit regions of Alexander von Humboldt National Park, Guantanamo provinces, and Holguin.

What is a Cuban kite's habitat?

Endemic to Cuba, the Cuban kite's natural habitat is in the forest. The rarest species of Cuban raptor is found in forests with tall trees. They prefer living in areas below 1640.4 ft (500 m) altitude and with rivers nearby.

Who do Cuban kites live with?

Kites, in general, are a solitary species of birds. Most of them live alone or in pairs. During the breeding season, the mating pairs live together.

How long does a Cuban kite live?

The exact lifespan of the Cuban kite (Chondrohierax wilsonii) is not known.

How do they reproduce?

Not much is known about the reproduction of the Cuban kite (Chondrohierax wilsonii). Generally, a kite is known to choose tall trees or high cliff sides to build its nests. The breeding pair can mate for life or last one season. The hook-bill kite (Chondrohierax uncinatus) lays about one to three eggs per season and it can be assumed that the Cuban kite, being the subspecies of the hook-bill kite (Chondrohierax uncinatus), does the same. The incubation period lasts for about 30 days.

What is their conservation status?

The Cuban kite's conservation status is listed in the Red List of the International Union for Conservation of Nature, or IUCN, as Critically Endangered. According to the data provided by IUCN, the distribution of the Cuban kite (Chondrohierax wilsonii) left in this world is extremely low with a declining population trend. No recovery plans are in action as of now but one is needed soon to save the population of this bird.  

Cuban Kite Fun Facts

What do Cuban kites look like?

The Cuban kite is a subspecies of the hook-bill kite, Chondrohierax uncinatus.
*Please note this is an image of a hook-billed kite, not an image of a Cuban kite. If you have an image of a Cuban kite, let us know at [email protected]

The Cuban kite (Chondrohierax wilsonii) is a medium-sized species of bird. Cuban kites have a light gray upper part with a prominent yellow bill. This large beak comes in handy while preying on snails and slugs. The male of the species has a white underpart with gray to reddish-brown stripes. The females, on the other hand, have brown underparts. The males have a light gray collar, whereas, the females are identified by their brownish-gray collar. Both males and females of the species are characterized by gray tails that have about three black-colored bands. You can identify a Cuban kite by its gray-colored plumage, greenish-yellow eyes, and prominent yellow bills.

How cute are they?

The presence of the gray plumage and the yellow beak makes the Cuban kite look extremely elegant. The beautiful greenish-yellow eyes give the birds a cute look. The female of the species has a brown underpart that makes them look quite attractive. To add to that, they have quite an attractive tail. A Cuban kite bird in flight will be a pleasure to look at.

How do they communicate?

Cuban kites, like all other species of birds, communicate via vocalization. However, the exact communication process of the Cuban kite is unreported. The hook-bill kite (Chondrohierax uncinatus), is known to be mostly silent. During the breeding season, they engage themselves in rapid musical chirps. They use a harsh chattering alarm call to warn each other of intruders or danger.

How big is a Cuban kite?

The Cuban kite (Chondrohierax wilsonii) is a medium-sized bird. The size range of the bird is somewhere between 14.1-16.9 in (35.8-42.9 cm). It has a wingspan of about 28-36 in (71.1-91.4 cm). When compared to the size of a red kite, it is slightly bigger.

How fast can a Cuban kite fly?

The exact speed at which the Cuban kite flies is not known.

How much does a Cuban kite weigh?

Cuban kites (Chondrohierax wilsonii) weigh about 6-11.4 oz (170-323.1 g). The females of this species of bird are bulkier than the males. It is way heavier than a common kingfisher.

What are the male and female names of the species?

A male Cuban kite is known as cock and a female Cuban kite is known as a hen.

What would you call a baby Cuban kite?

Babies of all birds are known as chicks. So, a baby Cuban kite will also be called a chick.

What do they eat?

The Cuban kite (Chondrohierax wilsonii), like all birds of prey, follows a carnivorous diet. This bird feeds on tree snails found in their habitat. The bird uses its thick bill to prey on the tree snails. In case of a lack of sufficient tree snails, the birds prey on various other snails. Apart from that, this bird also feeds on slugs.

Are they poisonous?

The Cuban kite (Chondrohierax wilsonii) is not poisonous. In fact, they do not cause any harm to humans.

Would they make a good pet?

The Cuban kite (Chondrohierax wilsonii), is a bird of prey that prefers living in forested habitats. They are better off in the wild and keeping them in captivity would be unwise.

Apart from that, the bird has been listed as Critically Endangered in the International Union for Conservation of Nature or IUCN Red List. Considering the extremely low population distribution of the species, they should absolutely not be held captive.

Did you know...

In the past 40 years, only one to three Cuban kites have been sighted.

Do Cuban kites migrate?

The Cuban kite (Chondrohierax wilsonii), endemic to Cuba, is a non-migratory bird. It lives in the forests of Cuba throughout the year.

Are Cuban kites endangered?

According to the International Union for Conservation of Nature or IUCN Red List, the Cuban kite (Chondrohierax wilsonii) is a Critically Endangered bird. To add to that, the population trend of the species shows a further decline. The main reason for this poor population is habitat loss and degradation over the years. Climate change over the years has resulted in habitat shifting and alteration that has taken a huge toll on the population status of the species. Apart from that, these birds are prone to hunting. No recovery plans or monitoring schemes are in action as of now.

Here at Kidadl, we have carefully created lots of interesting family-friendly animal facts for everyone to discover! For more relatable content, check out these Andean condor facts and Hawaiian hawk facts for kids.

You can even occupy yourself at home by coloring in one of our free printable cuban kite coloring pages.

*Please note this is an image of a hook-billed kite, not an image of a Cuban kite. If you have an image of a Cuban kite, let us know at [email protected]

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