Short-toed Snake-eagle (Circaetus gallicus)
(aka Short-toed Eagle, European Snake-eagle)
|Bramiana Reservoir, Crete
(photos 1 and 2) and Al Ain, Abu Dhabi (photos 3 and 4)
The Short-toed Snake-eagle breeds around the Mediterranean Basin and into Russia and the Middle East. This population migrates mainly to sub-Saharan Africa north of the Equator leaving in September/October and returning in April/May.
|There are also resident
populations in India and Pakistan and in some Indonesian
It breeds in open, arid country often in mountains but it requires trees for nesting. In southern France at least, it is often seen hunting over vineyards. It feeds almost entirely on snakes.
|It is a large and pale eagle
with long, broad wings. The tail has 3 or 4 bars. The neck looks
short and a dark bib is a noticeable feature in flight.
It is often seen hovering while searching for prey and, when it soars it does so on flattish wings.
|The calls are a clear whistle
but somehow reminiscent of a Herring Gull.
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