Barry Kent MacKayArt by Barry Kent MacKay
Art and Photo Presentation

In this section are copies of original works of art. All of them are dedicated to helping us live according to unconditional love and compassion, which is the foundation of our peaceful means of bringing true and lasting peace to all of God's creatures, whether they are human beings or other animals.

Gray-headed Kite (Leptodon cayanensis)

Gray-headed Kite (Leptodon cayanensis
(Artwork - 146)
Gray-headed Kite (Leptodon cayanensis)

Most hawk-like birds hunt by sitting on a high perch, waiting for prey to emerge; or by soaring above the landscape, actively seeking prey; or by dashing through and around obstacles, hoping to come upon prey by surprise. The first Gray-headed Kite I ever saw seemed to be hunting by walking, along branches high up in trees in a forest in the lowlands of Costa Rica. Apparently, they do this at times. This perhaps reflects their relatively close relationship to the honey-buzzards (which are really also kites) of Eurasia, which hunt out wasp and bee nests for the adults and larvae, although honey-buzzards have special adaptations for this “specialty food” that the New World Leptodon lacks, although the Gray-headed Kite also feeds on wasps and bees and their larvae. There is only one other member of the genus, the critically endangered White-collared Kite (L. forbesi), found only in a tiny area of eastern Brazil.

The Gray-headed Kite is found from southern Mexico south through Central America into South America as far south as southern Brazil and Uruguay. As might be expected of such a widely distributed species, this kite feeds on a wide range of prey, including large insects, reptiles, frogs and the odd other species, including slugs and snails, birds and small mammals. Apparently, they will associate with arboreal groups of marmosets in search of insects flushed out of hiding by the monkeys.

A rather slender, medium-sized raptor, the kite weighs in between about 400 and 600 grams. The flight reminds me of an accipiter, with several wing flaps followed by a glide. Like accipiters, it has rounded wings and a longish tail. Immature birds come in two colour morphs, one dark and one light, the latter with a dark crown that quite alters its appearance from the adult.

I did this painting, life-size, as a vignette, in acrylics on compressed hardboard.

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Copyright © Barry Kent MacKay
Barry describes himself as a Canadian artist/writer/naturalist.
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