Short-toed Snake Eagle (Circaetus gallicus) & 2 Black Kites (Milvus migrans) 10-02-2019
[group] Kites, hawks and eagles | [order] ACCIPITRIFORMES | [family] Accipitridae | [latin] Circaetus gallicus | [UK] Short-toed Snake Eagle | [FR] Circaete Jean-le-Blanc | [DE] Schlangenadler | [ES] Aguila culebrera | [NL] Slangenarend
spanwidth min.: 162 cm
spanwidth max.: 178 cm
size min.: 62 cm
size max.: 69 cm
incubation min.: 45 days
incubation max.: 47 days
fledging min.: 70 days
fledging max.: 47 days
eggs min.: 1
eggs max.: 1
Distinctly larger than buzzards Buteo. Medium-sized, broad-faced, usually dark-hooded, grey-brown snake-eagle, with head and thick neck protruding in all attitudes. Underparts strikingly white, variably speckled and barred darker, markings usually forming band across chest. Black tips to primary coverts and primaries and 2-3 tail bands fairly prominent even in palest birds.
Prefers open cultivated plains, stony deciduous scrubs and foothills and semi-desert areas throughout the country.
This species is breeding in a large part of southern and Eastern Europe, northern Africa, the Middle East and Central Asia. It is wintering mainly in Sub-Saharan Africa. The population of the European Union amounts to 3000-4500 breeding pairs, and seems to be fairly stable. It has undergone a strong decrease and contraction during last century, and the species has disappeared from Germany and Denmark. The main reasons for this decline are intensification of agriculture and disappearance of extensive livestock economy.
Short-toed Eagle feeds on snakes (poisonous and non-poisonous), Lizards (Varanus spp.), some species of frogs, mammals (rabbits, hares, and rats), sick and disabled birds and large insects.
This species has an extremely large range, and hence does not approach the thresholds for Vulnerable under the range size criterion (Extent of Occurrence 30% decline over ten years or three generations). The population size is very large, and hence does not approach the thresholds for Vulnerable under the population size criterion (10% in ten years or three generations, or with a specified population structure). For these reasons the species is evaluated as Least Concern. [conservation status from birdlife.org]
The time of arrival of Short-toed Eagles in the breeding area (mid-March to mid-April) with the activity of snakes and lizards after winter hibernation (mid-March). The brooding period (mainly June and July) preferably coincides with warm and dry weather and the peak of prey abundance, which increases the probability of eaglet survival and successful fledging. The Short-toed Eagle has a clutch size of only a single egg.
In top of low tree, mostly 3-7 meter above ground but can be as low 2 meter and as high as 25 meter Occasionally in nest of another bird species. Always well hidden from ground. Nests are often reused, though not necessarily in successive years. The nest is relatively small for the size of this bird, 50-100 cm diameter, 20-30 cm high, with deep cup. Built of small sticks, 5-10 cm long- lined with greenery.
The incubation period is 45-47 days. Both sexes are known to incubate, but female does most of the work. The fledging period 70-75 days, young may leave nest for surrounding branches at about 60 days. The age of first breeding is probably at least 3-4 years.
Migratory in Palearctic- sedentary in India, Pakistan and Lesser Sundas. Most migrants winter in tropical North Africa, from Senegambia to Ethiopia. Eastern birds winter in Indian Subcontinent, occasionally in South east Asia. Exceptional in winter in south Europe, north Africa and Middle East- more common in Arabian Peninsula. Most birds leave Europe from mid-September to mid-October, returning during March and the first half of April. Birds gather at crossing points: main route between Africa and Europe passes over Straits of Gibraltar- between Africa and Asia over Gulf of Suez.
[order] Falconiformes | [family] Accipitridae | [latin] Milvus migrans | [UK] Black Kite | [FR] Milan noir | [DE] Schwarzmilan | [ES] Milano Negro | [IT] Nibbio bruno | [NL] Zwarte Wouw
spanwidth min.: 135 cm
spanwidth max.: 150 cm
size min.: 55 cm
size max.: 60 cm
incubation min.: 26 days
incubation max.: 38 days
fledging min.: 42 days
fledging max.: 45 days
eggs min.: 2
eggs max.: 3
Shorter overall than Red Kite, with broader, notched rather than forked tail. Uniformly coloured, loosely built kite. Plumage dusky-brown, with only noticeable features diffuse pale patches at base of primaries and on upper wing-coverts. Juvenile paler, more tawny below than adult, with bases of primaries whitish and undertail more clearly barred.
Ubiquitous, occuring from semi-desert, grassland and savanna to woodland, but avoids dense forest Commonly aquatic habitats, rivers, lakes, wetlands,seashores and nearby in meadows and along margins of wetlands. Often linked with man to greater or lesser degree.
This kite inhabits most of Africa and Eurasia, from the Iberian Peninsula to Japan. Northwards it occurs up to 65°N. European populations are wintering in sub-Saharan Africa. About 21000-28000 breeding pairs occur in the European Union, which represents roughly 25% of the total European population. This species is subject to important fluctuations, but globally it undergoes a slow decrease since the beginning of the century. Being largely a scavenger, it is very susceptible to poisoning and pollution by pesticides. The disappearance of extensive pastoralism is another negative factor
Essentially carrion and small or medium sized mammals and birds, also fish, lizards, amphibians and invertebrates can be important locally or seasonally. Diet varies according to local availability, with proportionally more prey captured during breeding. More unusually, vegetable matter, particularly oil palm fruits. Catches prey on ground or water, large insects caught in air, and then eaten on wing. Often forages around margins of waterbodies, and by refuse dumps, slaughterouses or roads, where looks for animals knocked down by traffic.
In temperate zones of Eurasia,Mar-Jun, in tropical Africa, normally in dry season, in S Africa, aug-Dec, in Australia, mainly Jul- Nov. Solitay or loosely colonial, nests in trees, building nest in fork or on branch or on wide side branch, also on cliff ledges, locally along coast. platform of sticks which often includes rags or plastic, paper, dung or skin. 2-3 eggs, incubation 26-38 days, normally by female almost exclusively, if male brings sufficient food, female may not hunt during entire breeding attempt.
Mainly migratory in west Palearctic, though some southern Eurasian populations largely resident. Exceptional in central Europe in winter. Principal winter quarters south of Sahara: from Sénégal east to Sudan and south to South Africa. European birds show major south-west movement in autumn, towards important Mediterranean crossing point at Straits of Gibraltar; some south, and others south-east towards Bosporus. Many pass around eastern end of Black Sea. Occurs in Israel both passages, and abundant at Eilat in south in spring. In north-east Africa, common both passages through Eritrea. In central Europe, juvenile dispersal begins late June to early July. Major exodus of all age groups in August though some remain into September or even later. First European breeding birds reach North Africa in July and northern tropics in August. Return movement begins February in Africa; initial arrivals Switzerland late February or early March, and Germany in second half March, but major arrivals central Europe in first half April with immigration continuing to early or mid-May.