Fun Brown Snake Eagle Facts For Kids

Moumita Dutta
Oct 20, 2022 By Moumita Dutta
Originally Published on Aug 06, 2021
Fact-checked by Katherine Cook
Brown snake eagle facts illustrate their diet, geographic range, and nesting habits.

The brown snake eagle (Circaetus cinereus) is one of the largest species of birds in their family. As their name suggests, their plumage is completely brown and they primarily feed on snakes. These birds are broadly distributed throughout Africa, including western, eastern, and southern Africa.

They are accustomed to dry habitats, savannahs, and woodlands and are rarely found in open plains. Brown snake eagles are sedentary and solitary. However, this species rarely breeds in the same nest twice. They are not migratory, however, they are nomadic as they move and travel a few distances within their habitat range.

This species is not facing any population threats currently, but its population has been declining over the years. Although these birds are not immune to the venom of any venomous snake, these predatory birds are very proficient in killing and catching them.

They are sometimes slaughtered by some snakes such as python and cobra. The spitting cobra spoils the coil of the bird and blinds them. Therefore, brown snake eagles are caught and killed by their intended prey.

If you are intrigued with what you have read so far, you can read more about the brown snake eagle below. You can check out our articles on the willet and marsh wren here too!

‍Brown Snake Eagle Interesting Facts

What type of animal is a brown snake eagle?

The brown snake eagle (Circaetus cinereus) is a kind of predatory bird that is a member of the Accipitridae family.

What class of animal does a brown snake eagle belong to?

The brown snake eagle (Circaetus cinereus) belongs to the class of Aves.

How many brown snake eagles are there in the world?

Brown snake eagles are widely distributed throughout their habitat range. However, the total number of individuals is not known as of now.

Where does a brown snake eagle live?

Brown snake eagle lives in densely wooded habitats. They are distributed all over Africa, from eastern western to southern Africa. In the sub-Saharan desert, these birds are found in abundance. There's very little information on their migration and residence as they are nomadic in some regions and sedentary in some.

What is a brown snake eagle's habitat?

The brown snake eagle (Circaetus cinereus) is distributed in a wide range of habitats such as woodlands, dry areas, and some savannahs. However, they cannot live in the open plains. They are found anywhere between 0-8202 ft (0-2500 m) above sea level.

Who do brown snake eagles live with?

They are sedentary and solitary which suggests that they primarily love to spend their time alone. They are not found in groups, and it is only during the breeding period that they are found together in pairs.

How long does a brown snake eagle live?

Brown snake eagles can live around seven years in the wild, however, some die while they are hunting for prey before the completion of their lifespan.

How do they reproduce?

Brown snake eagles breed in their nests which are made of small sticks and twigs and rimmed with fresh green leaves. Their nest is located at the top of thickly foliaged trees or thorny ones like Acacia. Interestingly, they tend to return to the same tree and reinforce their nests even after years.

The females lay one egg in every reproduction cycle, which is completely white. They incubate the eggs for about 45-50 days. Further on, hatching occurs within two to three days, where the eaglets emerge from the covering.

During the incubation period, the males feed the females. Their parents feed the eaglets, and the parents feed the chicks all sorts of snakes.

The juvenile ones become independent after 100 days, and they fledge away. The young ones may or may not follow their parents, but they do return to rest in the nests or around the nest made by their parents.

What is their conservation status?

According to the International Union for Conservation of Nature, IUCN list, brown snake eagles are categorized as a Least Concern species.

Brown Snake Eagle Fun Facts

What do brown snake eagles look like?

Brown snake eagles feature a dark brown plumage with thick-skinned legs and large heads. Their flight feathers have minimal white speckles on them. They have silvery-gray underparts, and their white-tipped tail has thin white lines on them.

They have a solid black hooked beak, yellow eyes, and a pale gray cere. Their long bare legs feature stocky feet that are gray in coloration.

The males and females of this species are almost the same in appearance, with the female being a little larger in size than males. The young ones are slightly less brown than the adults.

Brown Snake Eagle

How cute are they?

Brown snake eagles look adorable, however, they are rarely sighted as they are solitary birds. They are not considered cute by many rather, and they are thought to be scary, unlike the Floria scrub jay.

How do they communicate?

Brown snake eagles are not really friendly and active, so they usually remain silent. However, while flying or foraging, they produce vocal sounds that sound like 'kwee-oo'.

How big is a brown snake eagle?

A brown snake eagle is large and is a stockily built species of bird. They are 26-31 in (66-78 cm) in size. Brown snake eagles are two times larger than the willet.

How fast can a brown snake eagle fly?

Brown snake eagles are excellent at flying, however, their flight speed has not been evaluated yet.

How much does a brown snake eagle weigh?

A brown snake eagle weighs around 4.5 lb (2.1 kg).  They are much heavier than a chestnut-sided warbler.

What are the male and female names of the species?

They are not distinguished on the basis of gender. Collectively, they are known as brown snake eagles.

What would you call a baby brown snake eagle?

A baby brown snake eagle is known as an eaglet, hatchling, or fledgling.

What do they eat?

They primarily feed on various snakes that are up to 118 in (3 m) long, including both harmless and venomous snakes. This species uses their legs to crush and squeeze the heads of snakes in order to discharge all the venom out, followed by swallowing during the brown snake eagle fighting stance.

They also consume small mammals, lizards, and game birds.

Are they predators?

Yes, they are predatory birds and are one of the species of birds of prey.

Would they make a good pet?

No, they would not make a good pet as they are not friendly and they prefer being solitary. Additionally, as they are habituated to the wild, it is very challenging for them and the owner to keep them as pets.

Did you know...

Brown snake eagles have scaled legs in order to protect and defend its legs from a snake bite.

The eagle symbolizes right and good, whilst the snake symbolizes sin and bad. The two viewpoints of conflict are portrayed by the snake and eagle fighting.

How smart are brown snake eagles?

The brown snake eagle is very smart in hiding and defending while incubating in nests. They stoop down and flatten themselves in order to hide as soon as they catch any signs of danger approaching.

Do eagles eat poisonous snakes?

Yes, eagles consume poisonous snakes, but they are not resistant to venom. They consume various cobras, python, and mambas.

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 dickcissel facts and tricolored heron facts for kids.

You can even occupy yourself at home by coloring in one of our free printable brown snake eagle coloring pages.

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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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Fact-checked by Katherine Cook

Bachelor of Arts specializing in Geography

Katherine Cook picture

Katherine CookBachelor of Arts specializing in Geography

A geography graduate from the University of Exeter, with a passion for exploring the world around her. Katherine spent her third year studying at the University of Wollongong in Australia, where she immersed herself in the local culture and adventure activities.

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