Western Banded Snake-Eagle

Introduction: Western banded snake-eagles (Circaetus cinerascens) are uncommon in Namibia with as few as an estimated 14 pairs recently observed. (4 pairs on the lower Kavango River and 10 in the eastern Caprivi). Habitats are usually riparian forest and woodland and along north eastern Namibia well-wooded ephemeral riverbeds.

Distribution: Caprivi, Kwando River, Chobe River, Zambezi River above Victoria Falls, Okavango Delta.

Diet: Eats mostly tree living snakes such as boomslang and green snakes, but also territorial species including puff adder and large cobras. Also takes frogs, lizards, baby tortoises, fish, beetles and small rodents.

Description: Medium-sized vulture with a large head, slender wings with rounded tips, very large eyes and strong, short toes with short, sharp claws, perfect for hanging on to snakes. Circus and aetos are Greek words for 'harrier' and 'an eagle' respectively. Cinerascens is Latin for 'ashen', a reference to their dark grey-brown head, neck and upper parts.

Breeding: Male and female copulate on ground. The male provides food by dropping snakes over a branch near a nest made from bendy sticks, lined with green leaves. Females collect and eat snakes. Only 1 egg is laid and incubated for around 40 days.

Size: 60cm.

Weight: 1.1kg.

Wingspan: 1.25m.

Birds of Namibia Wildlife of Namibia

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