Black-chested Snake Eagle (Circaetus pectoralis
The Black-chested Snake Eagle is a very large, 26" (65cm) bird, with a 69" (175cm) wingspan. By Eagle standards, it is medium-sized. A blackish-brown above and white beneath, with a few narrow bars along the flight feathers and three bands across the tail. It is sometimes confused with the Martial Eagle
, but is smaller and lacks the spotted belly. The Black-chested Snake Eagle lacks the baggy feathering on the thighs, showing bare, grey legs, when perched. It has distinctive yellow eyes and pale yellow feet. Habits
The Black-chested Snake Eagle is often seen on its own, perched on top of acacia trees or other exposed perches, watching for its next meal. Often-times, it is seen hovering, in search of food. Diet
The Black-chested Snake Eagle, as its name suggests, eats snakes. It is one of the few birds of prey to take on the Black Mamba
. It also eats other reptiles (Chameleons and Monitor Lizards
), rodents, amphibians, insects, small birds, bats, and even fish. Resident
Black-chested Snake Eagles are found throughout Kenya, although it is not common. It prefers lightly wooded areas and open savannah. Extra Facts
The breeding season for Black-chested Snake Eagles is between October to December. Its large nest is usually found atop Acacia trees and lined with leaves from that plant. A single egg is laid, which hatches in 7 weeks. It then takes a further 3 months for the youngster to fledge.
Its call is "kwo kwo kwo kweeoo": Photographs
Photographed in Masai Mara.