Brown Snake-Eagle

Introduction: Numbers of the brown snake-eagle (Circaetus cinereus) peak in summer in northern Namibia, possibly due to the seasonal movement to Zimbabwe. They are usually solitary birds, often seen perching on the top of a tall tree in pairs, close together. Brown snake-eagles inhabit a wide range of woodlands including mopane and Kalahari thornveld.

Distribution: Wooded areas of north and central Namibia, Etosha National Park, Caprivi

Diet: Eats mainly snakes such as mambas, cobras, boomslang, although not immune to venom. Also takes monitor lizards, chameleons, rats and game birds. Kills prey by dropping onto their backs to smash their spine with a set of small, powerful feet before crushing the head of the snake, swallowing it head first. Can be fought off by larger snakes such as mole snake or African rock python.

Description: Cinerus is Latin for ash grey, a reference to their overall brown head, body and feather colour.

Breeding: A small platform is built using 'pencil-thin' sticks, lined with leaves. Only 1 egg is laid between October and November with an incubation period of around 50 days.

Size: 75cm.

Weight: 2kg.

Wingspan: 1.75m.

Birds of Namibia Wildlife of Namibia

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