Family Hawks, Eagles (Accipitridae)

Least Concern

Slender-billed Kite (Helicolestes hamatus)


French: Milan à long bec German: Hakenweih Spanish: Caracolero plomizo

Falco hamatus


, 1821,





Extreme E Panama through N & E Colombia to W & NE Venezuela, Suriname and French Guiana; also S through Amazonian Brazil to E Peru and N Bolivia (Pando and Beni)#R; limits of range poorly documented, in part owing to confusion with Rostrhamus sociabilis. An individual watched in Tocantins (Brazil) in 2001#R.

Descriptive notes

35–41 cm; male 377–448 g, female 367–485 g; wingspan 80–90 cm. Chunky, with broad, round-tipped wings, short, square-tipped tail (hardly protruding... read more


Gives a mewing "weeeuuu" not unlike a buteo and a nasal, rising then falling "... read more


Flooded forest margins, e.g. around shallow lagoons and drying flooded areas. Rain forest, edges of... read more

Food and feeding

Specializes on snails of genus Pomacea. Extracts snail from shell by piercing and severing its columellar muscle at point of... read more


Poorly known. In Venezuela and the Guianas, nests Jun–Oct, during wet season; nest with eggs, early Jul in NE Peru, and active nest (... read more


No movements reported, but records in Panama (both in late 1950s) speculated to perhaps involve... read more

Status and conservation

Not globally threatened (Least Concern). CITES II. Poorly known, and requires further study; in Venezuela range recently extended NW to L. Maracaibo basin. Restriction to... read more

Recommended citation

Bierregaard, R.O., Jr & Kirwan, G.M. (2020). Slender-billed Kite (Helicolestes hamatus). 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 25 February 2020).