Western Banded Snake-Eagle | Circaetus cinerascens

Robert's Bird Of Prey Information: Western Banded Snake Eagle

The Western Banded Snake-Eagle is a Southern African bird that belongs to the Accipitridae bird family group which includes birds such as Raptors, Old Vultures, Osprey.

The description for the Western Banded Snake-Eagle (Latin name Circaetus cinerascens) can be found in the 7th Edition of the Roberts Birds of Southern Africa. The Circaetus cinerascens can be quickly identified by its unique Roberts identification number of 145 and the detailed description of this bird is on page 497. You will find a picture of the Western Banded Snake-Eagle on page 496.

NOTE: The reference for the information following is "Roberts Birds of Southern Africa", 7th Edition*. This edition contained a number of taxonomic changes as well as changes to English names used traditionally and in earlier editions of most bird books in South Africa. The following paragraph notes such changes if any.

This bird is known as Western Banded Snake Eagle in the Roberts 6th Edition. There have been no changes in the Latin name for the Western Banded Snake-Eagle between the Roberts 6th and Roberts 7th Edition.

The Western Banded Snake-Eagle has a height of 60 cms and weighs around 1150 gms. The head is coloured grey, brown while the bill is coloured black. The Circaetus cinerascens has a grey, brown coloured throat, white legs and a grey, brown coloured back. The eyes are yellow.

The male Circaetus cinerascens has physical features that are slightly different from the female bird.

Take note of the bird's main distinguishing features such as colour, size and leg length relative to the body size of the bird. Colours of a bird's body parts can be helpful. Be aware what may appear brown to one person is described in Roberts Birds using some other word ... for example brown, black. See colours used in Roberts.

Head is grey, brown.

Eyes are yellow.

Bill is black.

Legs are white.

Throat is grey, brown.

Back is grey, brown.

Western Banded Snake Eagle Feeding Habits ...

This bird forages for food on the ground.

This bird has a specially adapted bill which helps it hunt for fish, crabs, shrimp and other aquatic animals in the water.

This bird hunts for small reptiles such as lizards, geckos and bush snakes. The Western Banded Snake-Eagle strikes poisonous snakes on the head with one fatal blow which kills the snake instantly. There have been cases were this bird has been killed by a snake while hunting. Some birds have been blinded by Cobra venom.

The diet includes small mammals such as rabbits, field mice and other rodents. Rodents are usually taken from the ground and killed using the sharp claws. The Western Banded Snake-Eagle uses its hard bill to tear up the flesh.

Western Banded Snake Eagle Breeding, Habitat and Nesting Habits ...

The Western Banded Snake-Eagle is a monogamous bird which means that the bird finds and breeds with one partner for the rest of its life. The bird lays between 1 eggs and they are coloured white.

The nest is built high up in the tree canopy and is protected from predators by branches and the dense green foliage.

The Western Banded Snake-Eagle is mainly found in light and densely wooded forests, where there are Mopane trees.

The bird is at home in riverine forests and close to water bodies such as lakes, dams and streams.

This bird is very common in most of the Southern African Forests.

Seen in Flocks, Singles or Pairs Normally ...

The Western Banded Snake-Eagle is mainly seen singly or in pairs in the wild.

It is also seen in flocks.