2023—Beak and Talons

In a marvel of nature, the endangered Snail Kite has evolved over the past 20 years to allow it eat an invasive snail species that has a negative impact on the ecosystem that is the Snail Kite’s habitat. University of Florida researchers have found that in about that time, the Snail Kite has developed a larger beak as its new prey, the larger island apple snail, proliferated and became invasive. The large, curved beak of this male Snail Kite is perfectly adapted to eat the larger snails and his long talons perfect to snatch and grasp the snail as he pulls it from the water. These evolutionary changes create a huge dilemma as environmental scientists figure out how to recover endangered species without relying on an invasive species to do it.


Leave a Reply