Black-chested Snake-Eagle | Circaetus pectoralis

Robert's Bird Of Prey Information: Black Breasted Snake Eagle

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

The description for the Black-chested Snake-Eagle (Latin name Circaetus pectoralis) can be found in the 7th Edition of the Roberts Birds of Southern Africa. The Circaetus pectoralis can be quickly identified by its unique Roberts identification number of 143 and the detailed description of this bird is on page 493. You will find a picture of the Black-chested 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 Black-breasted Snake-Eagle in the Roberts 6th Edition. There have been no changes in the Latin name for the Black-chested Snake-Eagle between the Roberts 6th and Roberts 7th Edition.

The Black-chested Snake-Eagle is known in Afrikaans as Swartborsslangarend.

The Black-chested Snake-Eagle has a height of 68 cms and weighs around 1500 gms. The head is coloured black, brown while the bill is coloured black. The Circaetus pectoralis has a black coloured throat, yellow legs and a grey, brown coloured back. The eyes are orange.

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 black, brown.

Eyes are orange.

Bill is black.

Legs are yellow.

Throat is black.

Back is grey, brown.

Black Chested Snake Eagle Feeding Habits ...

This bird forages for food on the ground.

This birds forages for fish and other aquatic dwellers through surface sizing and diving for food in the water.

This bird hunts for small reptiles such as lizards, geckos and bush snakes. The Black-chested 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 Black-chested Snake-Eagle uses its hard bill to tear up the flesh.

This bird eats insects such as butterflies, bees, wasps, locusts and ants. These invertebrates are usually hawked aerially, killed and then eaten.

Black Chested Snake Eagle Breeding, Habitat and Nesting Habits ...

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

The bird is found in the arid and semi-arid regions of Southern Africa and it can withstand high day and night temperatures.

The bird is mainly found in the Savanna grasslands where it breeds and feeds.

Seen in Flocks, Singles or Pairs Normally ...

This bird is usually seen in small family groups or in large flocks.