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The serpent's worst nightmare, the short-toed snake eagle (Circaetus gallicus) is a medium-sized raptor or bird of prey. The species is found all around the Mediterranean Basin, including southwestern Europe, northwestern Africa, the Middle East, Mongolia, China, the Indian Subcontinent, and a few islands of Indonesia.
The underside of the species is generally white, while the upper parts are grayish brown. The upper breast, chin, and throat are pale earthy brown in color, and the tail generally has three to four bars. Short-toed eagles resemble owls as they have rounded heads, bright yellow eyes, and pale bands under the wing. The average weight and length of this species are 2.6–5.1 lb (1.2-2.3 kg) and 23-28 in (59-70 cm), respectively. They have a wingspan of 5.3-6.4 ft (162-195 cm).
Short-toed snake eagles are carnivores and generally prey on snakes, lizards, medium-sized mammals, and occasionally on birds and large insects. They inhabit the trees of open cultivated plains, foothills, semi-desert areas, and arid stony deciduous scrub areas. The International Union for Conservation of Nature has classified the species as Least Concern.
Let's read more interesting facts about the short-toed eagle and if you found this article insightful, don't forget to check out exciting information about different animals like the crowned eagle and tawny eagle.
The short-toed snake eagle (Circaetus gallicus) is a diurnal raptor or bird of prey. The short-toed eagle diet consists of snakes, lizards, small mammals, and occasionally birds and large insects.
The short-toed snake eagle belongs to the class of Aves, the family Accipitridae, and the Circaetus genus. The species is also known as the short-toed eagle.
The populations of this species have declined in a few regions of Europe. The short-toed snake eagle was found in Germany 100 years ago but the species has become a rare visitor there. Studies reveal that in 2006, there were 8,200-10,350 pairs in Europe. In 2003, there were around 2,000-3,000 pairs. In 2006, around 2,750 pairs were found in France. It is said that the largest populations are found in Russia, Spain, and France.
The short-toed snake eagle (Circaetus gallicus) is found throughout the Mediterranean Basin, including southwestern Europe, northwestern Africa, the Middle East, Mongolia, China, the Indian Subcontinent, and a few islands of Indonesia.
The short-toed snake eagle majorly dwells where most reptiles, especially snakes, live. This species mainly prefers a warm climate. They inhabit the trees of open cultivated plains, foothills, semi-desert areas, and arid stony deciduous scrub areas. The nest is constructed in sites with large trees or cliffs. The short-toed snake eagle also preys in agricultural areas.
These eagles are solitary and prefer to live alone, but pairs are often found in the breeding season.
Short-toed eagles generally live up to 17 years, but their maximum age in the wild is 30 years.
The short-toed snake eagle (Circaetus gallicus) is monogamous which means one pair stays together for life. The breeding season generally occurs from April and lasts to October in the western range while the breeding takes place from December to May in the eastern range. Adults generally reach sexual maturity after three to four years of age.
Adults perform several courtship displays such as circling, dives, and other sky dances to attract each other. The nest is constructed out of sticks and is placed 7-10 ft (2-3 m) above the ground. Sometimes, they use the nest of other species such as the brown-necked raven. The female eagle lays only one egg and is incubated by both parents for 45-47 days. A young short-toed eagle remains in the nest for around 70-80 days until it reaches independence.
The International Union for Conservation of Nature classified the species as Least Concern. Threats such as loss of habitat and illegal hunting have significantly affected the populations of these eagles. Also, they generally prey on snakes, therefore illegal killings and habitat destruction of snakes should also be prohibited as such practices, in turn, affect short-toed snake eagles.
The underside of the species is generally white, while the upper parts are grayish brown. The upper breast, chin, and throat are pale earthy brown in color and the tail generally has three to four bars. Short-toed eagles resemble owls as they have rounded heads, bright yellow eyes, and pale bands under the wing. This bird loves eating snakes.
These birds are known as sky gods for a reason due to their bright eyes which show strength and valor. They are fascinating to watch while they hunt.
Like other birds, short-toed eagles use similar methods to communicate with each other. They generally whistle, chirp, and turn slightly noisy during the breeding season. During the breeding season, several courtship displays are also used.
The average weight and length of the bird are 2.6–5.1 lb (1.2-2.3 kg) and 23-28 in (59-70 cm) respectively. This bird has a wingspan of 5.3-6.4 ft (162-195 cm). The species is bigger than Cooper's hawk and common nighthawk.
The exact speed of the bird is not available as of now, but the species is known as an apex predator. The bird generally hunts from a flight around 98 ft (30 m) above the ground. The short-toed snake eagle wings help them to reach a height of 1476 ft (450 m).
The average weight of the species is around 2.6–5.1 lb (1.2-2.3 kg).
There are no specific names given to male and female eagles. The female eagle generally has a longer tail than the male.
The baby of a short-toed eagle is called an eaglet. A female eagle lays only one egg which is incubated by both parents for 45-47 days.
Yes, they possess sharp bills and claws and their attack could cause severe injuries.
No, these are hard to tame and unpredictable birds and generally belong to the wild.
The South Nicobar serpent eagle is considered the smallest eagle species in the world.
A wide range of eagle species such as the eastern imperial eagle, tawny eagle, Verreaux's eagle are found in the Middle East.
The average wingspan of an eastern imperial eagle is 6.4 ft (195 cm).
The short-toed eagle feet help the bird to grab and kill snakes easily. While hunting, the bird dives to the ground and grabs the snake with its talons.
There are seven different species of snake eagles that ranges from Africa to India. The short-toed eagle range includes the Mediterranean Basin, Russia, and the Middle East, and parts of Asia. While species such as the range of black-chested snake eagle and brown snake eagle mainly includes west, east, and southern Africa.
We all know these species majorly prey on snakes but differences in the habitat, the breeding season, and appearance can be seen. Females of southern banded snake eagle are larger than males, while they have a shorter wingspan. The large head and bare legs of short-toed eagles help to differentiate from other species.
Here at Kidadl, we have carefully created lots of interesting family-friendly animal facts for everyone to discover! Learn more about some other birds from our sea eagle facts and martial eagle facts for kids pages.
You can even occupy yourself at home by coloring in one of our free printable short-toed eagle coloring pages.
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