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Eagle, Brown Snake

Identify and index birds in Southern Africa
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Eagle, Brown Snake

Unread post by Johann » Wed Apr 19, 2006 12:12 pm


Immature Brown Snake-eagle
Last edited by Johann on Mon Aug 13, 2007 5:27 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Brown Snake-Eagles

Unread post by mja » Wed May 16, 2007 3:49 pm

Near Skukuza.

Brown Snake-Eagles.


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Unread post by Wild about cats » Mon Aug 13, 2007 4:47 pm

Brown snake eagle

Common resident. Identified by white, unfeathered legs and its large yellow eyes. The tail has four clear dark bands. At all ages the downy underfeathers are white. It kills and eats large snakes on the ground or in a tree. Nomadic.
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Unread post by Bush Baptist » Wed Aug 15, 2007 5:04 pm

They are common in Kruger South and north.

Also seen them in Kgalagadi, but the BBSE is more common there.
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Unread post by saraf » Sun Sep 02, 2007 9:54 am


Spotted around the Lower Sabie area in Feb 2005.


Brown Snake-Eagle

Unread post by Jumbo » Mon Oct 29, 2007 11:58 am

I’m completely useless when it comes to raptors, please help me out with a few sightings we had last week:
Forgive the quality of the shots, the exposure on the whole bunch is terrible.

To me it looks like this bird has a completely black bill?


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Unread post by j-ms » Mon Oct 29, 2007 12:21 pm

Brown Snake-Eagle

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Unread post by Elsa » Tue Mar 04, 2008 2:39 pm

Immature Brown snake Eagle seen in Kruger last month.

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Brown Snake Eagle

Unread post by wingman » Sun Mar 16, 2008 3:33 pm

Hi here is another one also in the Pretoriuskop area any help here please


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Unread post by arks » Sun Mar 16, 2008 3:43 pm

Your bird looks like a juvenile brown snake eagle, wingman.
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Unread post by LadyRaven » Sun Mar 16, 2008 10:19 pm

Yes.. Definitely a Brown Snake Eagle... The Brown Snake Eagle is actually so easy to identify compared to some other eagles. It's the only eagle with the big, round yellow eyes, and the tuft on the back of the head.

Lovely pics!!

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Unread post by deefstes » Mon Mar 17, 2008 10:54 am

LadyRaven wrote:The Brown Snake Eagle is actually so easy to identify compared to some other eagles. It's the only eagle with the big, round yellow eyes, and the tuft on the back of the head.

I agree with the ID but these comments are not entirely correct. All Snake-Eagles have big yellow eyes and rounded heads. The distribution and absence of a yellow cere rules out Western Banded- and Southern Banded Snake-Eagle but the yellow eyes and appearance of a tuft are not enough to rule out immature Black-chested Snake-Eagle. Seperating juvenile Brown Snake-Eagle and juvenile Black-chested Snake-Eagle is, surprisingly, more difficult than onemight expect.

Overall, I would say this bird is dark enough to rule out juv. Black-chested but the clinching features are not really visible (shorter primaries, undertail barring etc.)

Just one or two comments on raptors, I think these may have been posted in this thread before but it came to mind after I read some of the comments on the previous two or three pages so I thought I'd repeat it.

1. If a bird does not have feathers extending all the way down to the feet (ie. the bare tarsus is visible) it is not an eagle.

2. The only exception to rule 1 is the Snake-Eagles which do have are bare tarsi but which share other distinct characteristics such as the big yellow eye and rounded head making ID easy.

3. Allthough Steppe Buzzard has many variations of colour, in just about every plumage the horizontal demarcation on the chest is visible. This should always be one of the first things one should look for and it shows clearly on both birds that have been posted in the last few days.

4. Juvenile birds are not smaller than adult birds. They attain adult body size shortly after they molt out of their chick feathers and by the time you see a bird fly it will have attained full adult size already. Juveniles can sometimes even be bigger than adults because they are fed so well. This is prety much true for all birds and not just raptors.
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Unread post by Johan van Rensburg » Mon Mar 31, 2008 11:01 am

Circaetus cinereus, the brown snake eagle is often seen hunting from pylons. This one allowed me very close for some great portrait shots.

Click for large size
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brown snake eagle

Unread post by p@m » Mon May 19, 2008 2:05 pm

On H7 closer to Orpen than Satara on 19/4/08


Think it's a brown snake eagle ?

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Unread post by wildtuinman » Mon May 19, 2008 2:10 pm

The first one I agree is a brown snake eagle.

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