Fun Black-chested Snake Eagle Facts For Kids

Moumita Dutta
Nov 14, 2022 By Moumita Dutta
Originally Published on Sep 15, 2021
Edited by Luca Demetriou
Black-chested snake eagle facts illustrate everything about their family, genus, diet, population, and distribution.

The black-chested snake eagle (Circaetus pectoralis) is also known as the black-shouldered snake eagle. This eagles' scientific name is Circaetus pectoralis.

The black-chested snake eagle is a large bird of prey in the family Accipitridae, which also includes kites, eagles, and hawks. The black-chested snake eagle is found throughout tropical Africa and Asia. These black-breasted birds are found in central and eastern Africa.

It is an uncommon species that is considered to be at risk of being Endangered in the coming years due to being hunted for its feathers and loss of habitat. Like all other birds, the black-breasted snake eagle has a few different ways to get its food.

It is amongst the most enigmatic birds that form a clade with the Circaetus gallicus and Terathopius ecaudatus (Bateleur). Moreover, they are also believed to be a part of the superspecies formed by the Circaetus beaudouini (Beaudouin's snake eagle) and Circaetus gallicus (short-toed snake eagle).

This article is perfect for those who are interested in animal behavior or want to learn more about their distribution, breeding between the male and female bird, family, genus, description, identification, and diet.

For more relatable content, check out these Hawaiian hawk facts and saker falcon facts for kids.

Black-Chested Snake Eagle Interesting Facts

What type of animal is a black-chested snake eagle?

The black-chested snake eagle (Circaetus pectoralis) belongs to the Accipitridae family, which also includes kites, eagles, and hawks.

What class of animal does a black-chested snake eagle belong to?

The black-chested snake eagle (Circaetus pectoralis) is a bird of prey that belongs to the class of Aves like a falcon.

How many black-chested snake eagles are there in the world?

They are very commonly found in their range of distribution. However, there are no further population details available. For the black-chested snake eagle, endangered isn't a term you would use to define their distribution.

Where does a black-chested snake eagle live?

The black-chested snake eagle (Circaetus pectoralis) is a large bird of prey found in Africa and Asia. Their range includes the following countries: India, Bangladesh, Myanmar, Thailand, Vietnam, Laos, and China.

The black-chested snake eagle range map includes that the largest populations of their species are found in the Congo Basin, where they live among dense vegetation on lowland hillsides or ridges within moist evergreen forests.

This birds species lives in southern Africa and can be found in Angola, Tanzania, Uganda, Rwanda, Congo Gabon, Congo DR Congo, Cameroon, Mozambique, and Zimbabwe.

In East Africa, they are distributed in Ethiopia and Sudan in North Africa. In a nutshell, they are predominantly found in Asia, North Africa, South Africa, and East Africa.

What is a black-chested snake eagle's habitat?

It lives in tropical rainforests, dry forests, and woodlands across central west Africa. The habitats they live in include: subtropical dry forest areas, subtropical wet forest areas, mangrove swamps, and tropical moist deciduous forests. They live in various different ecosystems, including coastal regions, mountain regions, and rainforest regions.

In some regions, it can be found at habitat ranges as high as 9,842.5 ft (3,000 m) above sea level. These eagles are mostly found in lowland forests, wetlands, and woodlands.

This, combined with its preference for open savannah grasslands and agricultural areas to feed on birds and small mammals, make it one of the most common eagles in Africa.

Who do black-chested snake eagles live with?

The black-chested snake eagle (Circaetus pectoralis) lives in convocation with around 200-300 eagles. Apart from their breeding season, they mostly roost together. However, they are nomadic, silent, sedentary, and aren't sociable, most of the time.

How long does a black-chested snake eagle live?

Not much information is available about their lifespan. However, it is believed that in the wild, it's not uncommon for these eagles to live an average of 15 years.

How do they reproduce?

Breeding occurs throughout the year, with peaks in November to January and September to November. When the bird is ready for mating season, it begins looking for a mate and eventually courts and mates with one.

What is their conservation status?

These birds species are classified under the category of Least Concern species by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) Red List.

Black-Chested Snake Eagle Fun Facts

What do black-chested snake eagles look like?

For their description, the first thing that comes to mind is their relatively large size compared to other raptors in the area. Adult males typically measure about 33.9 in (86 cm) in length, while females are much smaller at 28.3 in (72 cm) in length.

These black-breasted species are identified with their rufous-brown plumage on the head with a distinctive white line running through it. This raptor's physical description is striking; it has a dark orange face, dark brown throat, rufous-white underparts, and dark brown flight feathers.

It also has long legs and yellow eyes with dark brown patches around them. Males are often bigger than females, but both the black-chested snake eagle male and the black-chested snake eagle female display black chest upperparts (wings) during the breeding season.

Their shoulders, belly, and back are dark brown-black. Moreover, their beak, feathers, and tail are all pigmented with black with long gray legs. The black-chested snake eagle juvenile has rufous upper parts (chest) with pale feather tips (tail), yellow eyes, and white underparts.

We've been unable to source an image of a black-breasted eagle and have used an image of its habitat. If you are able to provide us with a royalty-free image of a black-breasted eagle, we would be happy to credit you. Please contact us at

How cute are they?

These species have a really classic appearance; however, due to their aggressive behavior, some people might not consider them cute.

How do they communicate?

One of the most striking species of raptor in the world, black-chested snake eagles, are often seen in pairs. They are also often heard before they're seen. The black-chested snake eagle call is a high-pitched scream which can be heard up to 2.5 mi (4 km) away.

How big is a black-chested snake eagle?

These black-breasted eagle species are medium-sized birds that range between 24.8-26.4 in (63-67 cm) in length. It is almost one-third times smaller in size when compared to the Circaetus gallicus (short-toed snake eagle). The black-chested snake eagle wingspan is usually between 5.3-6.1 ft (160-185 cm).

How fast can a black-chested snake eagle fly?

The adult birds can travel up to 200 mi (321.9 km) per day, searching for prey as their distribution range is very large. However, their flight speed is not available, as a lot about these birds is being scrutinized by ornithologists.

How much does a black-chested snake eagle weigh?

These brown-black-breasted species weigh 3.7-5.7 lb (1.2-2.3 kg).

What are the male and female names of the species?

There are no specific names for the male and female of this species.

What would you call a baby black-chested snake eagle?

A baby eagle is called an eaglet or fledgling.

What do they eat?

The black-chested snake eagle is an opportunist and will eat anything from small mammals and reptiles (snakes) to birds and carrion. But some of its favorite food is snakes.

Their food diet consists of small mammals, insects, lizards, frogs, other birds, reptiles, and amphibians. However, it may also prey on larger prey items when the opportunity arises.

It has a diverse diet because it hunts from the ground to the canopy. These black-breasted species are considered intelligent as before directly hopping on the victim, they go around flapping their wings and hovering keenly.

Are they poisonous?

No, they are not poisonous.

Would they make a good pet?

No, they would not make a good pet as they are aggressive species and are habituated to live in the wild.

Did you know...

They can use their sharp talons to get any small animals they want, or they may just use their powerful beaks to tear apart their prey. Unlike other birds, the black-chested snake eagle also does something never seen before: it swallows its prey whole.

How did the black-chested snake eagle get its name?

The black-breasted eagle got its name from its black-brown wings, tail, and feathers. They owe their name to the black-brown breast and chest. Moreover, they feed on snakes that basically complete their name.

Are black-chested snake eagles migratory?

The black-chested snake eagle migration hasn't been well defined. Yes, they are somewhat migratory as they are nomadic in some specific seasons and regions.

Here at Kidadl, we have carefully created lots of interesting family-friendly animal facts for everyone to discover! For more relatable content, check out these griffon vulture interesting facts and Andean condor surprising facts pages.

You can even occupy yourself at home by coloring in one of our free printable African hawk-eagle coloring pages.

Second image by Charles J. Sharp.

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Written by Moumita Dutta

Bachelor of Arts specializing in Journalism and Mass Communication, Postgraduate Diploma in Sports Management

Moumita Dutta picture

Moumita DuttaBachelor of Arts specializing in Journalism and Mass Communication, Postgraduate Diploma in Sports Management

A content writer and editor with a passion for sports, Moumita has honed her skills in producing compelling match reports and stories about sporting heroes. She holds a degree in Journalism and Mass Communication from the Indian Institute of Social Welfare and Business Management, Calcutta University, alongside a postgraduate diploma in Sports Management.

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