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Brown Snake Eagle Takeoff

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Ngala Game Reserve, Kruger National Park, South Africa.

 

We were driving through South Africa's savanna when we found a herd of Zebra. They were huddled around a waterhole and it was great light - I couldn't ask for more. Then I looked on the other side of our vehicle and perched atop the tree next to us was this Brown Snake Eagle. Being an avid birder I immediately turned to snap a few shots then back to the Zebra then back to the Eagle. I was wrapped up in indecision; which do I focus on?

 

I stayed with the Eagle for a few minutes as it scanned the grassland for some breakfast. Soon after, it decided we were too close for its comfort and it lifted off in search of a new perch. Luckily my trigger finger was ready!

 

The Brown Snake Eagle is a large bird of prey being as long as 29 inches, and having a wingspan of over 5 feet. It feeds mainly on snakes and other reptiles as it swoops down on them from a tree. This is a typical view of them - perched on the crown of a large tree.

 

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Taken on April 9, 2012