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Circaetus gallicus 02.JPG
Short-toed snake eagle (Circaetus gallicus)
Scientific classification e
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Aves
Order: Accipitriformes
Family: Accipitridae
Subfamily: Circaetinae
Genus: Circaetus
Vieillot, 1816

C. gallicus
C. pectoralis
C. beaudouini
C. cinereus
C. fasciolatus
C. cinerascens
C. spectabilis

Circaetus, the snake eagles, is a genus of medium-sized eagles in the bird of prey family Accipitridae. The genus name is from the Ancient Greek kirkos, a type of hawk, and aetos, "eagle".[1]

These are mainly resident African species, but the migratory short-toed snake eagle breeds from the Mediterranean basin into Russia, the Middle East and India, and winters in sub-Saharan Africa and east to Indonesia.

Snake eagles are found in open habitats like cultivated plains arid savanna, but require trees in which to build a stick nest. The single egg is incubated mainly or entirely by the female.

Circaetus eagles have a rounded head and broad wings. They prey on reptiles, mainly snakes, but also take lizards and occasionally small mammals.

Species in taxonomic order[edit]

Fossil record[edit]

Circaetus rhodopensis late Miocene of Bulgaria)[2]

Circaetus haemusensis (early Pleistocene of Bulgaria)[3]


  1. ^ Jobling, James A. (2010). The Helm Dictionary of Scientific Bird Names. London: Christopher Helm. p. 108. ISBN 978-1-4081-2501-4.
  2. ^ Boev, Z. 2012. Circaetus rhodopensis sp. n. (Aves, Accipitriformes) from the Late Miocene of Hadzhidimovo (SW Bulgaria). - Acta zoologica bulgarica, 64 (1): 5-12.
  3. ^ Boev, Z. 2015. An Early Pleistocene Snake-eagle (Circaetus haemusensis sp. n. - Aves, Accipitriformes) from Varshets (NW Bulgaria). – Acta zoologica bulgarica. 67 (1), 2015: 127-138.