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White-collared Kite
Leptodon forbesi

Status: Critically endangered

Population Trend: Unknown.

Other Names: Forbes's Kite.

Leptodon forbesi
click to enlarge
Distribution: Neotropical. Endemic to northeastern BRAZIL (Alagoas, Pernambuco).more....

Subspecies: Monotypic.

Taxonomy: Formerly placed in the genus Odontriorchis. Following its description by Kirke Swann (1922), it was recognized as a full species by Peters (1931), Pinto (1938) and Hellmayr and Conover (1949), but regarded as a variant (perhaps an aberrant immature individual) of L. cayanensis by Meyer de Schauensee (1970), Blake (1977), Stresemann and Amadon (1979), Amadon and Bull (1988), and Sick (1990). Recent specimens of adults and immatures from northeastern Brazil provided strong evidence that this is a valid species (Teixeira et al. 1987), and it has been accorded species status by most subsequent authorities, including Sibley and Monroe (1990, 1993), Bierregaard (1994), and the South American Classification Committee of the American Ornithologists' Union (Remsen et al. 2011) (but not by Dickinson et al. 2003). Griffiths et al. (2007) found that Leptodon and Elanoides are sister taxa and that they are basal to all other Accipitridae, except for Elanus and Gampsonyx.

Movements: Probably sedentary.

Habitat and Habits: Occurs in primary wet forest from sea level to about 600 m. Seipke et al. (2011) observed daily early morning territorial displays, sometimes involving two or even three birds. These flights consisted of birds soaring in circles above the forest or sugar cane plantations, mostly less than 100 m above the canopy. Prior to and after such displays, the birds spent their time perched on exposed branches within forest patches, or perched within the forest interior.

Food and Feeding Behavior: No information, but presumably like the Gray-headed Kite. One of the birds observed by Seipke et al. (2011) was feeding on a small prey item, perhaps an insect.

Breeding: No information.

Conservation: One of the rarest bird species in the world. Only five specimens exist, and it has been recorded from only a handful of sites in the Atlantic Forest of Brazil (Texeira et al. 1987, 1988, Seipke et al. 2011). Surveys in 2007 and 2008 by Sergio Seipke, Francisco Dénes, Russell Thorstrom, Bill Clark, and Jean-Marc Thiollay confirmed the existence of at least 20 of these kites at several localities in the states of Alagoas and Pernambuco, but the continued survival of the species is somewhat tenuous, owing to ongoing massive habitat loss in the region. Categorized as Critically Endangered by BirdLife International.

Population Estimates: About 50 pairs (F.V. Dénes and L.F. Silveira in litt. to BirdLife International).

Important References: 
Bierregaard, R.O. White-collared Kite. 1994. P. 108 in del Hoyo, J., A.
  Elliott, and J. Sargatal (eds). Handbook of birds of the world. Vol. 2. New
  World vultures to guineafowl. Lynx Edicions, Barcelona, Spain.
Dénes,F.V., L.F. Silveira, S. Seipke, R. Thorstrom, W.S. Clark, and J.-M.
2011. The White-collared Kite (Leptodon forbesi Swann, 1922)
  and a review of the taxonomy of the Grey-headed Kite (Leptodon cayanensis
  Latham, 1790). Wilson Journal of Ornithology 123:323-331.
Ferguson-Lees, J., and D.A. Christie. 2001. Raptors of the world. Houghton
  Mifflin, Boston, MA.
Kirke Swann, H. 1922. A synopsis of the Accipitres. 2nd ed. Wheldon &
  Wesley, London.
Pereira, G.A., S.d.M. Dantas, and M.C. Periquito. 2006. [Possible record
  of White-collared Kite, Leptodon forbesi in the State of Pernambuco,
  Brazil]. Revista Brasileira de Ornitologia 14:441-444.
Roda, S.A., and C.J. Carlos. 2003. New records for some poorly known birds
  of the Atlantic forest in north-east Brazil. Cotinga 20:17-20.
Roda, S.A., and G.A. Pereira. 2006. [Recent distribution and conservation
  of forest raptors of the Pernambuco Center]. Revista Brasileira de
  Ornitologia 14:331-344.
Seipke, S.H., F.V. Dénes, F. Pellinger, R. Thorstrom, J.-M. Thiollay, L.F.
  Silveira, and W.S. Clark.
2011. Field identification of White-collared Kite
  Leptodon forbesi and similar-looking species in north-east Brazil.
  Neotropical Birding 8:29-39.
Sick, H. 1993. Birds in Brazil. Princeton University Press, Princeton, NJ.
Teixeira, D.M., J.B. Nacinovic, and F.B. Pontual. 1987. Notes on some
  birds of northeastern Brazil (2). Bulletin of the British Ornithologists'
  Club 107:151-157.
Teixeira, D.M., J.B. Nacinovic, and F.B. Pontual. 1987. (Abstract) On the
  re-discovery of Leptodon forbesi (Swann, 1922) in Northeast
  Brazil. XIV Congresso Brasileiro de Zoologia in Jutz de Flora, Brasil.
Teixeira, D.M., J.B. Nacinovic, and F.B. Pontual. 1988. Notes on some
  birds of northeastern Brazil (3). Bulletin of the British Ornithologists'
  Club 108:75-79.

Current Research: The photographs shown here were obtained by Sergio Seipke, who organized two field parties to search for the White-collared Kite in eastern Brazil. The groups included superstar raptor experts Bill Clark, Francisco Dénes, Jean-Marc Thiollay, and Russell Thorstrom, and the project was sponsored by the Museu de Zoologia of the University of São Paulo, Neotropical Bird Club, and The Peregrine Fund. As can be seen by the photos shown here, the field parties were successful in finding the White-collared Kite, and their reports on the surveys are now appearing (see Seipke et al. 2011 and Dénes et al. in press). Hit the "more" button to learn more about the photos.more....
Dr. Luis Fábio Silveira of the USP has also been conducting a study of the White-collared Kite for several years.

Sites of Interest:
Aves de Rapina do Brasil
Species account with much valuable information.

Last modified: 6/8/2011

Recommended Citation: Global Raptor Information Network. 2014. Species account: White-collared Kite Leptodon forbesi. Downloaded from http://www.globalraptors.org on 31 Jul. 2014

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