Family Hawks, Eagles (Accipitridae)

Least Concern

Plumbeous Kite (Ictinia plumbea)


French: Milan bleuâtre German: Schwebeweih Spanish: Elanio plomizo

Falco plumbeus

J. F. Gmelin

, 1788,



Closely related to I. mississippiensis, with which sometimes treated as conspecific. Monotypic.


NE Mexico (Tamaulipas) S through Central America to South America S to W Ecuador and, E of Andes, S to Paraguay and N Argentina.

Descriptive notes

29–38 cm; male 190–267 g, female 232–280 g; wingspan 70–85 cm. Inner webs of primaries rufous, very conspicuous in flight; wings longer in relation to... read more


Generally silent away from breeding grounds. Two- or three-syllabled whistle dropping in pitch at... read more


Occupies wide variety of forest types in lowlands of tropical and subtropical zones, including... read more

Food and feeding

Insects are primary prey, representing more than 90% of recorded prey items; less commonly eats small vertebrates and snails. Of 702 prey... read more


At Tikal, Guatemala, lays eggs in mid Mar/early Apr and fledge young in late May/Jun. Nests Mar–May in Colombia, Feb–... read more


Migratory in N and S of range in respective autumns; N birds move S through Panama in Aug and Sept... read more

Status and conservation

Not globally threatened (Least Concern). CITES II. Relatively common, e.g. in parts of Brazil and Colombia. Estimated average density of at least c. 9 individuals per 10,000... read more

Recommended citation

Bierregaard, R.O., Jr, Marks, J.S. & Kirwan, G.M. (2020). Plumbeous Kite (Ictinia plumbea). 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 24 February 2020).