GUIDE TO BIRDS OF ARMENIA

Short-toed Snake-eagle

Adult bird. Photo: P. Hills

Latin name: Circaetus qallicus

Latin name: Circaetus gallicus

Family name: Hawks and Eagles 

Family name: Hawks and Eagles 

This large and very pale Eagle has quite a specific diet, as mostly feeds on various reptiles – predominantly snakes. It is able to catch rather large venomous  snakes having no immunity against their poison. Searching for the prey from the sky it locates the snakes resting on the rocks and dives down to catch them using strong toes and fantastic reaction. In Armenia the Short-toed Eagle inhabits deciduous forests and juniper woodlands, where puts its nests on the upper parts of the trees. Pairs have large territories and are able to feed only one nestling, that is why the female lays only one egg. The nestling is also fed by reptiles, which are carried by adult in the feet or in the crop.

This large and very pale Eagle has quite a specific diet, as mostly feeds on various reptiles – predominantly snakes. It is able to catch rather large venomous  snakes having no immunity against their poison. Searching for the prey from the sky it locates the snakes resting on the rocks and dives down to catch them using strong toes and fantastic reaction. In Armenia the Short-toed Eagle inhabits deciduous forests and juniper woodlands, where puts its nests on the upper parts of the trees. Pairs have large territories and are able to feed only one nestling, that is why the female lays only one egg. The nestling is also fed by reptiles, which are carried by adult in the feet or in the crop.

Conservation status

The Short-toed Eagle  has a relatively low density, and nevertheless its population continues remaining stable in the last decade. The poaching on Raptors in general exists, and although there are exceptional cases of shooting of the Short-toed Eagle, the threat should not be underestimated. It means a necessity to review the policy on the penalties for harming this Eagle.

The Short-toed Eagle  has a relatively low density, and nevertheless its population continues remaining stable in the last decade. The poaching on Raptors in general exists, and although there are exceptional cases of shooting of the Short-toed Eagle, the threat should not be underestimated. It means a necessity to review the policy on the penalties for harming this Eagle.

More specific information about this species

Habitat

Varied habitats from open woodland and even fairly dense forest to semi-desert. Often occurs in areas with mixed habitats: requires fairly open areas rich in reptiles, e.g. stony areas with sparse vegetation cover, also, nearly always requires tree cover, breeds up to 2300 m a.s.l.

 

Food & Feeding

Specializes on reptiles, particularly snakes. Mainly takes non-venomous species, up to 150 cm in length. Also takes other reptiles, particularly lizards, occasionally mammals, like rodents, shrews, and hares.

 

Breeding

Lays egg in Apr–May depending on elevation. Aerial courtship displays usually brief and easily missed, though apparently more frequently performs undulating sky-dance (accompanied by much calling). Males defend territories against intruders. Nests almost exclusively in trees, usually only a few meters in height. Nest built on crown of tree, usually 3–6 m above ground.

 

Movements

The species is complete migrant which departs Armenia in August to September and returns in late March to April.

 

Family

Hawks and Eagles

Source of information

The Handbook to the Birds of the World

The Birds of the Western Palearctic

More specific information about this species

Habitat

Varied habitats from open woodland and even fairly dense forest to semi-desert. Often occurs in areas with mixed habitats: requires fairly open areas rich in reptiles, e.g. stony areas with sparse vegetation cover, also, nearly always requires tree cover, breeds up to 2300 m a.s.l.

 

Food & Feeding

Specializes on reptiles, particularly snakes. Mainly takes non-venomous species, up to 150 cm in length. Also takes other reptiles, particularly lizards, occasionally mammals, like rodents, shrews, and hares.

 

Breeding

Lays egg in Apr–May depending on elevation. Aerial courtship displays usually brief and easily missed, though apparently more frequently performs undulating sky-dance (accompanied by much calling). Males defend territories against intruders. Nests almost exclusively in trees, usually only a few meters in height. Nest built on crown of tree, usually 3–6 m above ground.

 

Movements

The species is complete migrant which departs Armenia in August to September and returns in late March to April.

 

Family

Hawks and Eagles

Source of information

The Handbook to the Birds of the World

The Birds of the Western Palearctic

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