Double-toothed Kite

Double toothed kite
Credit: EEstradawildphoto – CC BY-SA 4.0

Double-toothed Kites are relatively small raptors. They have dark gray heads, backs, and wings. Their eyes are orange with dark pupils and their bills are short, stout, and black and gray at the tip. Their bellies and breasts have varying rufous (reddish) coloring with grayish-white streaks or barring.

Their throats are white and have a vertical dark stripe in the center. Their rumps and the undersides of the wings are white and visible during flight. Their legs are bright yellow.

Females are similar to males but they have deeper rufous coloring on their underparts and the barring is more often dark chestnut instead of grayish-white.

Juveniles have the same coloring as adults except for their underparts. Juveniles have whitish breasts with varying brownish vertical streaks or mottling. Their bellies are whitish, too.

  • Harpagus bidentatus
  • Length: 11 – 13.7 in (29 – 35 cm)
  • Weight: 5.8 – 8 oz (161 – 229 g)
  • Wingspan: 23.6 – 28 in (60 – 72 cm)


The Double-toothed Kite is a member of the bird of prey family that is normally found in Central and South America. However, in 2011, it was photographed in Texas and is now considered a vagrant in the United States.

Habitat And Diet

You can find Double-toothed Kites in rainforests, at the edges of forests and clearings, in dense forests, and in previously disturbed second forests. Second forests are woodland areas that are growing again after the cutting of timber.

Double-toothed Kites typically hunt from their perch just below the treetops. They target lizards, bats, and insects, like cicadas, grasshoppers, and crickets. They may simply swoop down and snatch their prey or they can catch them in flight.

Sometimes they hop on branches to reach their prey, too. They have also been observed to follow monkeys, not to eat, but to capture any animals that they rustle up when they move.

Double-toothed Kite Call:


Nests of Double-toothed Kites are made of sticks and twigs built by the female. These are placed in the fork of a tree, usually at a high elevation. She will then lay one to two eggs and incubates them for about forty-two to forty-five days.

During this time, the male stays away but returns to deliver food. When they’ve hatched, the female also hunts to feed the young. Even when they’ve already learned to fly, younglings are still dependent on their parents for about another month or two.

Fun Fact:

The Double-toothed Kite doesn’t really have any teeth despite its name. The “Tooth” part refers to the tooth-like structures on the edges of their upper mandibles.