White-collared Kite (Leptodon forbesi)

White-collared Kite

[order] ACCIPITRIFORMES | [family] Accipitridae | [latin] Leptodon forbesi | [authority] Swann, 1922 | [UK] White-collared Kite | [FR] Milan de forbes | [DE] Kragenweih | [ES] Milano accolardo | [NL] Witkraagwouw


Monotypic species


Members of the genus Leptodon are rather large Kites. The tail is long and rounded; the wings long and blunt. The bill has a single ‘tooth’. The genus has short, but stout legs. The lores are sparsely covered with bristles; the feathers of the nape are slightly lengthened and pointed. Immatures are very different from the adults in colour, the immature being highly variable in colour and with phases – the adult is not. Related to the genus Aviceda, there is but one species, in the tropics of the New World.

Physical charateristics

Large, mostly bicoloured kite. Overall white head (pearl grey crown and sides of head hard to notice in the field). Blackish above with white feather tips on the mantle, scapullars, secondaries, and inner primaries. White below. White underwing-coverts and white leading edge of the wings are both very noticeable in the field and diagnostic. Tail ashy-white with black subterminal band and whitish tip. Some birds present two black bands in the undertail. Very similar to more widely distributed Grey-headed Kite L. cayanensis from which differs on white head and leading edge to wings and white underwing coverts. Light-morph, juvenile Grey-headeds are browner above and have black crowns (grey in intermediate stages of first pre-basic moult), and feathers in the upperside have dark tips. In White-necked Hawk Leucopternis lacernulatus primaries reach tail tip on perched birds. They soar in a strong dihedral and show a dark band on the trailing edge to the wings. Mantled Hawk Leucopternis polionotus have shorter tails almost completely white, and broader, more pointed wings show a noticeable white trailing edge. Ubiquitous Short-tailed Hawk Buteo brachyurus have pointed wings and multi-banded tail pattern. Wings reach tail tip in perched birds, and the sides of the head are slate-coloured.

Listen to the sound of White-collared Kite

[audio:http://www.planetofbirds.com/MASTER/ACCIPITRIFORMES/Accipitridae/sounds/White-collared Kite.mp3]

Copyright remark: Most sounds derived from xeno-canto

wingspan min.: 0 cm wingspan max.: 0 cm
size min.: 48 cm size max.: 52 cm
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broods: 0   eggs min.: 0  
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South America : Northeast Brazil. Leptodon forbesi occurs in Pernambuco (one specimen taken in 18805 and recent records from Agua Azul, Barreiros, Trapiche, and the municipalities of Sao Jose da Coroa Grande, Gravata, Sirinhaem, and in the private reserve Frei Caneca in Jaqueira municipality) and Alagoas (recent records from Sao Miguel dos Campos, Sao Jose da Laje, Serra Grande, Roteiro, Iguatebara and Murici), north-east Brazil.


It apparently inhabits humid forest at elevations up to c.600 m, but there are no data on its feeding or breeding ecology


No data

Feeding habits

No data


This species is classified as Critically Endangered because it has an extremely small known population, in areas where habitat loss is continuing rapidly. It is currently known from seven sites within a small range, but these are severely fragmented.
There has been massive deforestation in coastal Alagoas and Pernambuco, with most suitable habitat cleared or threatened. The two key sites in Alagoas are both under severe threat, with forest at Murici covering 70 km2 in the 1970s, but less than 30 km2 in 1999. Indiscriminate small-scale logging was still occurring at the site in 1992, and the area is further threatened by fires spreading from adjacent sugarcane plantations. Some forest persists at Sao Miguel dos Campos but it is still under pressure from logging and hunting. The current condition of forest at agua Azul is unknown. The behavior of this species is very poorly known, although it likely is similar to that of the Gray-headed. It resides in Atlantic coastal forest, which is heavily threatened by habitat destruction. This species is extremely poorly known – even its status as a species was in doubt until recently – and is of significant conservation concern, although population data are still limited. Recent survey work in Alagoas and Pernambuco states recorded 21 pairs and estimated a total population of c.50 pairs or 100 mature individuals. The species is suspected to be declining in line with indiscriminate forest clearance within its small range.
White-collared Kite status Critically Endangered


Sedentary in all of its range.

Distribution map

White-collared Kite distribution range map

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