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Southern Banded Snake Eagle - BirdForum Opus

Alternative name: Fasciated Snake Eagle

Circaetus fasciolatus
Photo by Aroberts
St Lucia, KwaZulu-Natal


Length 58 cm, mass about 1 kg. Sexes alike; upper-parts grey-brown and chest brown; belly barred; tail with three dark and two white tail bars.

Similar species

Western Banded Snake Eagle is darker and greyer, has a single broad white tail bar, and the barring on the belly is less prominent.


Sub-Saharan Africa. Very limited range in coastal East Africa from southern Somalia south to KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa. Southern breeders may move northwards during the southern summer.




Dense coastal woodland and forest, also cultivated land with scattered tall trees. Ranges inland along large rivers.


Its near-threatened status is mainly due to the destruction of its natural habitat as fewer and fewer continuous stretches of coastal forest remain.


A secretive, reptile-hunting Snake Eagle of coastal forests. It is highly vocal but tends to stick to a single hidden perch in the high canopy. It is rare to see this species circling over the forest and this makes it a difficult bird to spot.


  1. Hockey, PAR, WRJ Dean, and PG Ryan, eds. 2005. Roberts' Birds of Southern Africa. 7th ed. Cape Town: John Voelcker Bird Book Fund. ISBN 978-0620340533

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