Short-toed Snake-eagle (Circaetus gallicus)
(aka Short-toed Eagle, European Snake-eagle)
Short-toed Eagle, Bramiana Reservoir, Crete, October 2002 - click for larger image 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.

Short-toed Eagle, Bramiana Reservoir, Crete, October 2002 - click for larger image There are also resident populations in India and Pakistan and in some Indonesian islands.

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.

Short-toed Eagle, Green Mubazzarah, Al Ain, Abu Dhabi, March 2010 - click for larger image 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.

Short-toed Eagle, Green Mubazzarah, Al Ain, Abu Dhabi, March 2010 - click for larger image The calls are a clear whistle but somehow reminiscent of a Herring Gull.

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