Snake Eagles

Circaetus: Snake Eagles

Circaetus, the snake eagle, is a genus of medium-sized eagles in the bird of prey family Accipitridae which also includes many other diurnal raptors such as buzzards and harriers.

A Snake Eagles on Top of a Tree
A Snake Eagles on Top of a Tree

Distribution / Range

These are mainly resident African species, but the migratory Short-toed Eagle breeds from the Mediterranean basin into Russia, the Middle East, and India, and winters in sub-Saharan Africa and east to Indonesia.

Snake eagles are found in open habitats like cultivated plains and arid savannah, but require trees in which to build a stick nest. The single egg is incubated mainly or entirely by the female.


Circaetus eagles have rounded heads and broad wings.

Diet / Feeding

They prey on reptiles, mainly snakes, but also take lizards and occasionally small mammals. Species in taxonomic order

  • Short-toed Eagle Information, Circaetus gallicus / Short-toed Eagle Photo Gallery
  • Black-chested Snake-eagle, Circaetus pectoralis – sometimes included in C. gallicus
  • Beaudouin’s Snake-eagle, Circaetus beaudouini – sometimes included in C. gallicus
  • Brown Snake-eagle, Circaetus cinereus
  • Southern Banded Snake-eagle or Fasciated Snake-eagle, Circaetus fasciolatus
  • Banded Snake-eagle, Circaetus cinerascens

Gordon Ramel

Gordon is an ecologist with two degrees from Exeter University. He's also a teacher, a poet and the owner of 1,152 books. Oh - and he wrote this website.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Check Also
Back to top button