Short Toed Snake Eagle
Copyright monacoeye • Do not copy • Alpes Maritimes, France • Aug, Sep 2009, 2010
Bird name: Short Toed Eagle
Latin: Circaetus gallicus
Other: Short Toed Snake Eagle • Circaète Jean le Blanc • Schlangenadler • Alangenarend • Biancone • Aguila Culebrera
Family: Accipitridae • Eagles, Birds of Prey
Range: South and East Europe, Middle East, India etc, Central Africa
The Short Toed Eagle preys mainly on snakes, but also small reptiles like lizards. It is predominantly light-coloured from below, with a dark, almost owl-like, head. They can be very pale (see “more photos” below), even on the head, with few, if any, of the characteristic brown dotted lines below.
The Short Toed-Eagle is one of the more visible large raptors in the coastal mountains of the Alpes Maritimes in France, especially in May and September. If you go up to a high point near here, it is not uncommon for a Short-toed Eagle to appear soon after you get out of the car, and hover past you on the thermals.
They are found mostly in southern and eastern Europe, into the Middle East and some parts of Asia, and migrate to Africa in the northern winter.