Eagles build huge nests in tall trees and often return to the same nest year after year. After breeding, in late May or June, most migrate north and return in August. Golden Eagles are occasional visitors to Florida in nonsummer months.
Northern Harriers, also called Marsh Hawks, inhabit wetlands and fields. They build nests on the ground or in thickets.
Cooper's Hawks and Sharp-shinned Hawks are accipiters. They are agile, woodland hawks that may hunt at bird feeders. Cooper's Hawks usually nest in tall deciduous trees.
The remaining hawks are buteos. They usually soar at high altitudes in search of prey.
Broad-winged Hawks inhabit wooded areas often near water. Red-shouldered Hawks inhabit swamps and woodlands. Nests are built in tall deciduous trees and often reused. After raising the young, they may use the nest as a feeding platform.
Red-tailed Hawks may be found in woodlands, open areas, and groves. They build nests in tall deciduous trees. Short-tailed Hawks nest in treetops in wooded areas near water and in cypress swamps.
Kites inhabit wooded areas and nest in tall trees, often pines and cypress.
The endangered Snail Kite, formerly known as the Everglades Kite, is found in local areas of central and south Florida. It must move around as it feeds almost exclusively on freshwater Apple Snails, which it hunts by flying low over the relatively shallow, clear water. As a result of draining the Everglades, altered water levels in Lake Okeechobee, and dredging the Kissimmee River Basin, plus the introduction of exotic aquatic plants, runoff from agricultural lands, and recreational use of wetlands, the Snail Kite's population in Florida had been reduced to 20 in 1964. Thanks to conservation efforts, recent counts place the number at almost 1000.
Both the Swallow-tailed Kite and the less common White-tailed Kite are sensitive to habitat changes, but little is known about either bird.
|name||area||season||diet/native food plants|
|Bald Eagle||NCS||SpSuFW-B||fish*, birds, small mammals|
|Northern Harrier||NCS||SpSuFW-B||small mammals*, small reptiles & amphibians|
|small mammals*, birds, reptiles, insects|
|birds*, small mammals|
|Red-shouldered Hawk||NCS||SpSuFW-B||small mammals*, reptiles, amphibians, birds|
|rodents*, reptiles, birds, insects|
|Mississippi Kite||N||SpSu-B||large insects*, amphibians, lizards|
|Swallow-tailed Kite||NCS||SpSu-B||large insects*, lizards, nestlings, fruit|
Sp=spring Su=summer F=fall W=winter
B=breeds in Florida during season(s) underlined M=Migrant