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Circaetus gallicus 02.JPG
Scientific classification e
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Aves
Order: Accipitriformes
Family: Accipitridae
Subfamily: Circaetinae

Circaetinae is a bird of prey subfamily which consists of a group of medium to large broad-winged species. These are mainly birds which specialise in feeding on snakes and other reptiles, which is the reason most are named as "snake-eagles" or "serpent-eagles". The exceptions are the bateleur, a more generalised hunter, and the Philippine eagle, which preys on mammals and birds.

All but one of the subfamily are restricted to warmer parts of the Old World: Spilornis and Pithecophaga in south Asia, the others in Africa. The short-toed eagle Circeatus gallicus migrates between temperate Eurasia and Africa, as well as being resident in India.

They have hooked beaks for tearing flesh from their prey, strong legs and powerful talons. They also have extremely keen eyesight to enable them to spot potential prey from a distance.



  1. ^ Eutriorchis is genetically related to Gypaetus, and so might be classified with the Gypaetinae rather than Circaetinae. Lerner, Heather R. L.; Mindell, David P. (9 May 2006). "Accipitridae". The Tree of Life Web Project.