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Eagle, Brown Snake

Identify and index birds in Southern Africa

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Johan van Rensburg
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Unread postby Johan van Rensburg » Wed Jun 18, 2008 1:55 pm

I noticed this bird spotting a snake 60 m from its perch. It glided in to make the kill and swallow the 40 cm snake ... and it all happened so quickly that I couldn't get a shot off until after the fact.

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Re: Identification Help - Raptors

Unread postby JoelR » Tue Dec 09, 2008 7:41 am

Raptors are very hard! Luckily this photo gives us plenty of info: it is brown, has bright yellow eyes, a dark bill and a funny head shape. It shows indeed some resemblance to a juv. Bateleur, but the eyes of that bird would have been dark and the head flatter. This is a Brown Snake-Eagle!

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Re: Identification Help - Raptors

Unread postby wildtuinman » Tue Dec 09, 2008 8:51 am

JoelR is 100% right.

I just want to add to his ID. Whenever you see a bird of prey with a large head and yellow eyes you know that you are looking at a Snake Eagle.
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Re: Eagle, Brown Snake

Unread postby Johan van Rensburg » Thu Feb 12, 2009 8:36 am

A flight shot showing the wing pattern of a young brown snake-eagle seen from below, early February near Phalaborwa Gate in KNP. The brown snake-eagles have one of the most easily recognisable under-wing patterns of all birds of prey.

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In an adult bird the light blotched chest and underwing coverts turns a uniform dark brown
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Bird ID required

Unread postby wmahon465 » Wed Feb 25, 2009 8:34 pm

Came across this raptor which was on the Byamiti weir road, sunning itself on the top most branches. Would appreciate help in ID of bird. Any reason why it spread it's wings like this. Was in the same position for at least 10 mins. A local suggested it was allowing the sun to kill parasites. It was not eating anything that I could see.

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Re: Bird ID required

Unread postby Johan van Rensburg » Wed Feb 25, 2009 10:21 pm

Your bird is a brown snake-eagle. The eyes are normally strikingly pale yellow... looking at this picture it may be that the deep yellow colour was over-enhanced, probably in the "darkroom". Great shot, none-the-less.

As regards the open wing thingy... many birds use this trick to either catch the sun (warming up) or to cool down on a hot day by catching a breeze... they elevate their feathers and hold their wings out a bit for air circulation. Birds’ normal body temperature is higher than ours, so they don’t need to shed heat as soon as we do, but they can get hot inside their thick layer of feathers. As birds don’t have sweat glands they can’t sweat to cool down. However, they have a few other ways to keep cool.

Birds can breathe very quickly, allowing cool air passing through the lungs and air sacs to carry heat away from the body. The structure of a bird’s lungs is such that air pass through in only one direction so it doesn’t mix with air that is already in the lungs. This means a greater cooling capacity as well as higher oxygen levels.

To avoid overheating when it is very hot, many birds will rest in the shade during the heat of the day and be more active in the early morning and evening.

BTW, there are special ID threads running at the top of this page... select the one most suitable for the bird you want ID'd and post your query there. :wink:
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Re: Bird ID required

Unread postby wmahon465 » Wed Feb 25, 2009 10:39 pm

Thanks very much Johan

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Identification Help - Raptors

Unread postby JOL » Thu Mar 05, 2009 1:33 pm

Hi all ,

I can see that there are some pretty skilled birders using this forum. A couple of African birds of prey have been discussed on the Danish website http://www.netfugl.dk" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false; recently , and since no satisfying conclusion was ever reached on either of these , maybe someone here could help?

This bird is surely either brown or black-chested snake eagle (immature) and was photographed on the 4th of November in Tarangire NP in Tanzania:

Image

Any comments would be appreciated!

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Re: Id help - two raptors.

Unread postby JoelR » Thu Mar 05, 2009 1:54 pm

I am voting Brown Snake-Eagle.

P. & D. An immature BB Snake-Eagle would be lighter and more rufous.

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Re: Id help - two raptors.

Unread postby JOL » Fri Mar 06, 2009 1:52 am

JoelR wrote:I am voting Brown Snake-Eagle.

P. & D. An immanture BB Snake-Eagle would be lighter and more rufous.



Hi JoelR ,

Thanks for your input on the unidentified raptor!

Personally I agree with you on the snake eagle being a brown. However , I’ve never actually seen an immature black-chested myself , and the illustrations in the African field guides seem to differ quite a bit.

If anyone else would like to venture an opinion on this:

http://netfugl.dk/pictures.php?id=showp ... e_id=25820" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;

it would be great!

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Re: Identification Help - Raptors

Unread postby Moegaai » Fri Mar 06, 2009 8:53 am

JOL, here's my opinion on your BOP:

Brown Snake-Eagle: This bird is UNIFORMLY brown, which you wouldn't see in Black-chested (imm). Also Black-chested imm would have been much paler on chest and rump (and more rufous as JoelR pointed out)

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Re: Identification Help - Raptors

Unread postby JOL » Sat Mar 07, 2009 2:31 am

Hi Moegaai ,

Thanks for your response!

I pretty much agree with your comments regarding the snake eagle. My concern was that it looked quite pale for a brown snake eagle. Also I didn’t know how much the plumage on an immature black-chested could vary (individually and/or regionally) , since it looks quite different depending on which books you use.

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Identification Help - Raptors

Unread postby Haplo » Sun Apr 12, 2009 1:23 pm

Ok -
Everyone said of my last posted Raptor that it was a Brown Snake eagle (See page 34 of this forum topic), and I guess I'll buy that, although in my opinion, and it is a very inexperienced one, there are factors counting against the Brown snake Eagle as opposed to the Photo. My research doesn't say anything about the fact that the Brown Snake eagle has any form of decent banding other than on the tail - my raptor has banding on its lower body.

That said -
Who can help with the the following two?
Image
And this one?
Image
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Re: Identification Help - Raptors

Unread postby Haplo » Sun Apr 12, 2009 1:44 pm

OK.

So I got the two mixed up - that's the same bird...... :redface:
I'll try again.....
Image

There...
Hope that is right now! :pray:
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Re: Identification Help - Raptors

Unread postby Bush Baptist » Sun Apr 12, 2009 1:50 pm

Thought you were going to make us play "spot the differences", Haplo. :twisted: I still go with BSE.
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