Family Hawks, Eagles (Accipitridae)

Least Concern

Hook-billed Kite (Chondrohierax uncinatus)


French: Bec-en-croc de Temminck German: Langschnabelweih Spanish: Milano picogarfio

Falco uncinatus


, 1822,

Bahia, Brazil


Until recently, considered conspecific with C. wilsonii, which now is considered a full species because it differs from present species in having an all-yellow bill (3); larger bill (at least 1); barred collar (2); and smaller overall size (at least 1). Molecular evidence supports this split#R. Large-billed forms have been suggested as forming a separate species (C. megarhynchus), but this view now discredited because differences are due to individual variation. Mexican birds traditionally awarded separate race, aquilonis, supposedly more broadly barred below and with somewhat darker grey and brown morphs#R, but considerable individual variation (both in Mexico and elsewhere) indicates that subspecific status is not merited, a view supported by molecular analysis#R. Two subspecies recognized.

Subspecies and Distribution
  • C. u. uncinatus (Temminck, 1822) – W Mexico (Sinaloa) and extreme S USA (S Texas) S through Central America, Trinidad, the Guianas and Brazil to E Peru and E Bolivia, Paraguay and N Argentina.
  • C. u. mirus Friedmann, 1934 – Grenada (Lesser Antilles).
  • Descriptive notes

    39–51 cm; male 215–277 g, female 235–360 g; wingspan 78–98 cm. Very large, heavy, hooked bill, longish tail, and paddle-shaped wings; flies with slow... read more


    Considered to be probably largely silent except during breeding season, when noisy in courtship and... read more


    Rainforest, in lower canopy and dense understorey from tropical to lower temperate zones in Andes,... read more

    Food and feeding

    Mostly tree snails (e.g. Homolanyx, Polymita; on Grenada, mainly Bulimulus wiebesi; in Argentina, mostly ... read more


    Season May–Nov (eggs laid Jun–Sept) on Grenada (race mirus). Elsewhere, birds in breeding condition or nests with eggs... read more


    Long presumed to be sedentary, although it has been suggested that the species might lead a... read more

    Status and conservation

    Not globally threatened (Least Concern). CITES II. Widespread but unobtrusive, and generally appears to be uncommon, with evidence for (sometimes substantial) local decreases... read more

    Recommended citation

    Bierregaard, R.O., Jr, Kirwan, G.M. & Marks, J.S. (2019). Hook-billed Kite (Chondrohierax uncinatus). In: del Hoyo, J., Elliott, A., Sargatal, J., Christie, D.A. & de Juana, E. (eds.). Handbook of the Birds of the World Alive. Lynx Edicions, Barcelona. (retrieved from on 22 November 2019).