Brown Snake Eagle (Circaetus cinereus)
aka Brown Harrier Eagle

The Brown Snake Eagle is a very large, 28" (71cm) bird that is, as its name suggests, completely chocolate-brown. Its face gives it an owl-like expression, with forward facing bright yellow eyes and a black beak. It has bare grey legs and feet. In flight, from below, the wings are a silvery-grey.

The Brown Snake Eagle is often found solitary, perched upright, looking for food on the ground.

The Brown Snake Eagle eats reptiles and snakes. Occasionally, they will take Guineafowl and similar birds. When tackling a venemous snake, they crush the head, to discharge the poison.

The Brown Snake Eagle is found throughout Kenya, except in the far west and above 2,500m. It prefers tall trees with a good view of the surrounding area, preferring Baobab trees.

Extra Facts
The Brown Snake Eagle is alone amongst other brown eagles in having bare legs. Most Snake Eagles have bare legs with hard scale, which is useful when dealing with dangerous snakes. The Brown Snake Eagle is the largest of all Snake Eagles.

Photographed in Meru National Park.

Categories & Keywords
Subcategory Detail:
Keywords:bird, brown harrier eagle, brown snake eagle, eagle, kenya, wildlife

Brown Snake Eagle ~ Perched

A Brown Snake Eagle (aka Brown Harrier Eagle), perched in a tree in Kenya's Meru National Park.

Brown Snake Eagle ~ Alert

Brown Snake Eagle, perched in a tree in Kenya's Meru National Park, looking over its shoulder.

Brown Snake Eagle ~ On Dead Tree Stump

Side profile of a Brown Snake Eagle, against a pale blue sky.