Lunch & Learn Series: The Enigmatic Hook-billed Kite

HMANA Lunch & Learn Series: The Enigmatic Hook-billed Kite

Wednesday, July 19 at 12:00 pm EST

We were happy to welcome Ryan Phillips for July’s Lunch & Learn program who spoke about the Hook-billed Kite (Chondrohierax uncinatus).
This highly specialized, snail eating Neotropical raptor has a wide distribution that has received little research attention despite local declines occurring. It was once considered to be non-migratory, but Ryan and his team have documented a significant (5,000-9,000) migration of Hook-billed Kites in Belize and have studied this migration for the past 10 years. The past 10 years of the team’s research was also recently published in the Journal of Field Ornithology. Ryan shared their findings and how important this concentration point and migratory corridor in the Neotropical gem of Belize is for this Neotropical raptor and others (Double-toothed Kite, Plumbeous Kite, and Swallow-tailed Kite).
RYAN A. PHILLIPS has focused his work on avian ecology and conservation in California and Belize, Central America. Ryan received a B.Sc. in Wildlife, Conservation Biology and Fisheries with a specialization in Ornithology from the University of California at Davis and a M.Sc. in Environmental Studies at San Jose State University studying Neotropical raptor migration. He has been an Adjunct Instructor at De Anza College in the Kirsch Center for Environmental Studies since 2008. Ryan has worked with a wide variety of species, including non-avian species, focusing on their ecology and threats to assist with assessing their status and implementing conservation efforts.

Ryan is the Director and Founder of the Belize Hawk Watch with the Belize Bird Conservancy, a non-profit organization he co-founded in 2009. He has been studying Neotropical raptors since 2004, where he lived in Belize as a Field Biologist for The Peregrine Fund on the Belize Harpy Eagle Restoration Project to assist in restoring a population and study the ecology of post-released captive-bred eagles. During that time and beyond, he also monitored nests of the rare Orange-breasted Falcon and studied Neotropical species which there is little information on such as Solitary Eagle, Stygian Owl, Ornate Hawk-Eagle, and Hook-billed Kite. Since 2016, Ryan has been part of a Burrowing Owl Recovery Team in California to save the Burrowing Owl from local extirpation in the San Francisco Bay Area.



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