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Satellite Tracking

Why did animal X stop transmitting?

Movements and foraging of Snail Kites relative to habitat, prey, and contaminant condition

A project of USGS and ARCI in conjunction with the partners and sponsors detailed below.

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NameSpeciesLife StageRelease DateLast LocationDays Transmitted
Citrus Snail KiteAdult2012-08-122017-12-261962
Glades Snail KiteAdult2012-08-312017-03-041646
Harns Snail KiteAdult2012-03-312017-12-252095
Haven Snail KiteAdult2012-09-032015-03-14922
Hwy 441 1 Snail KiteAdult2012-03-072017-12-262120
Hwy 441 2 Snail KiteAdult2012-03-132015-07-091213
Okee Female Snail KiteAdult2012-05-022017-12-262064
Okee Male Snail KiteAdult2012-05-022015-08-261211
WCA 3A 2 Snail KiteAdult2012-08-132016-01-251260

Click on an animal's name for maps and more information.


The Snail Kite’s (Rostrhamus sociabilis) U.S. distribution is limited to Florida. Snail Kites feed almost entirely on a single species, the Apple Snail (Pomacea paludosa), which is influenced by the timing and distribution of surface water conditions. Striking declines in Snail Kites have been directly tied to human-caused changes in hydrology. The species is listed as Endangered federally and by the state of Florida. Our first satellite-tracking study (2007-2009) determined the differences in cost and effectiveness between satellite and VHF radio telemetry for locating marked Snail Kites following dispersal, for describing habitat use and home ranges, and for estimating survivorship. Survival over two years for this small sample (n=10) was 100% based on satellite telemetry, but VHF tracking of the same sample of birds (i.e., each individual carried a satellite and a VHF transmitter) estimated less than 50% survival over the same two-year period. Satellite tracking also produced significantly larger home-range estimates than VHF tracking and revealed short-term/long-distance movements to outlying activity centers that may represent refugia or other vital destinations during declining conditions. In 2012, we deployed satellite transmitters on 12 additional adult Snail Kites to study movements and habitat selection in relation to snail abundance (with UWF biologists), natural versus altered wetlands, toxins (copper and mercury), and proposed wind-farm developments. For this project, the satellite transmitters include GPS receivers capable of 10-15 meter accuracy. Such finely-scaled location data will inform critical management decisions for Snail Kites and the greater Everglades ecosystem.

Project Partners

Kristen Hart, Ronnie Best, Autumn Iversion, U.S. Geological Survey

Ken Meyer and Gina Kent, Avian Research and Conservation Institute

Phil Darby and Bethany Wight, University of West Florida

Ikuko Fujisaki, University of Florida

Bob Frakes, Emily Bauer, and Anthony Sowers, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service


Project Sponsors

U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service

U.S. Geological Survey

Saint Johns River Water Management District

South Florida Water Management District

Microwave Telemetry, Inc.



  • The presentation of data here does not constitute publication. All data remain copyright of the project partners. Maps or data on this website may not be used or referenced without explicit written consent.
  • For more information please visit the project website.
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