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[Photos by author: yellow-billed kite, pied crow, red-billed firefinch.]
On the cab ride from the airport to our hotel, I was amazed to see that the skies over the city were filled with large, soaring birds of prey that were unlike any I had seen before—dark brown both above and below, with a deeply forked tail they used as a rudder. These were easy enough to identify in my field guide, which I’d gotten last fall and spent time browsing in anticipation of our trip; they were yellow-billed kites. As you might expect from a bird of prey that can live in a city, yellow-billed kites are described as “extremely opportunistic” feeders; they eat everything from insects and small vertebrates to food scavenged from garbage and carrion.