Restoration Potential: Strong fidelity to nest and roost sites inhibits colonization of formerly occupied habitat (Meyer and Collopy 1996). Limited attempts to reintroduce this species to presently unoccupied former range have failed (Meyer 1990). Given the species' biology (e.g., strongly social, delayed breeding, mobile), reintroduction could be difficult, at best (Meyer 1995).
Preserve Selection and Design Considerations: Suitable nesting habitat requires appropriate nest and roost sites within a landscape that provides sufficient prey for successful reproduction. Habitat mosaics with various plant communities such as forests, prairies, and wetlands of various sizes, are essential. Minimum area requirements are difficult to define; where breeding habitat quality is good and prey is abundant and concentrated, 30 square kilometers may be sufficient, but where habitat quality is less suitable and prey is more diffuse, 100-300 square kilometers may be necessary (Meyer and Collopy 1995).
Management Requirements: Tall trees that emerge from the surrounding canopy are essential for nesting. Such trees should be managed for in landscapes dominated by short-rotation, even-aged pine plantations. Nests built in Australian pine (Casuarina equisetifolia), an exotic species, fail at a significantly higher rate than those in native pine (Pinus spp.) or cypress (Taxodium spp.). Where kites nest in large numbers, it may be prudent to reduce the availability of Australian pine as nest sites (Meyer 1990).
Management Programs: Collaborative efforts with Brazilian conservationists are ongoing to protect native habitats at the critical wintering and breeding sites, which are all privately owned agricultural lands (K. Meyer, pers. comm.).
Monitoring Programs: This species is monitored on North American Breeding Bird Survey (BBS) routes (Sauer et al. 1997) and irregularly by state wildlife agencies (Millsap and Runde 1988). In Florida, systematic state-wide roost observations would form a good basis for long-term monitoring (K. Meyer, pers. comm.).
Management Research Needs: An accurate means of assessing population changes needs to be developed. Also, nesting and foraging habitat requirements need to be defined, winter habitat requirements need to be determined, prey densities essential for reproductive success need to be examined, and a study of marked individuals is needed to determine age at first breeding, sex ratio, survival, and social behavior (Meyer 1990, Meyer and Collopy 1995).
Biological Research Needs: Better information is needed on demography, migration routes winter biology, and habitat needs. The validity of subspecies designation needs to be examined since this may influence listing status (Meyer 1995).