Snail Kite
The Snail Kite is a bird of prey
Bird of prey
Birds of prey are birds that hunt for food primarily on the wing, using their keen senses, especially vision. They are defined as birds that primarily hunt vertebrates, including other birds. Their talons and beaks tend to be relatively large, powerful and adapted for tearing and/or piercing flesh....

 within the family Accipitridae
The Accipitridae, one of the two major families within the order Accipitriformes , are a family of small to large birds with strongly hooked bills and variable morphology based on diet. They feed on a range of prey items from insects to medium-sized mammals, with a number feeding on carrion and a...

, which also includes the eagle
Eagles are members of the bird family Accipitridae, and belong to several genera which are not necessarily closely related to each other. Most of the more than 60 species occur in Eurasia and Africa. Outside this area, just two species can be found in the United States and Canada, nine more in...

s, hawk
The term hawk can be used in several ways:* In strict usage in Australia and Africa, to mean any of the species in the subfamily Accipitrinae, which comprises the genera Accipiter, Micronisus, Melierax, Urotriorchis and Megatriorchis. The large and widespread Accipiter genus includes goshawks,...

s, and Old World vulture
Old World vulture
Old World vultures belong to the family Accipitridae, which also includes eagles, buzzards, kites, and hawks.Old World vultures are not closely related to the superficially similar New World vultures and condors, and do not share that group's good sense of smell. The similarities between the two...

s. Its relative, the Slender-billed Kite
Slender-billed Kite
The Slender-billed Kite is a bird of prey in the family Accipitridae, which also includes the eagles, hawks and Old World vultures. It is found near water in forested parts of tropical northern and central South America, and far eastern Panama...

, is now again placed in Helicolestes, making the genus
In biology, a genus is a low-level taxonomic rank used in the biological classification of living and fossil organisms, which is an example of definition by genus and differentia...

 Rostrhamus monotypic
In biology, a monotypic taxon is a taxonomic group with only one biological type. The term's usage differs slightly between botany and zoology. The term monotypic has a separate use in conservation biology, monotypic habitat, regarding species habitat conversion eliminating biodiversity and...

. Usually placed in the milvine kites, the validity of that group is under investigation.
Snail Kites are 36 to 45 cm (14.2 to 17.7 in) long with a 120 cm (47.2 in) wingspan. They weigh from 300 to 570 g (10.6 to 20.1 oz).