Family Hawks, Eagles (Accipitridae)

Least Concern

Western Banded Snake-eagle (Circaetus cinerascens)


French: Circaète cendré German: Bandschlangenadler Spanish: Culebrera coliblanca
Other common names: Banded Snake-eagle, Smaller Banded Snake Eagle

Circaëtos [sic] cinerascens

J. W. von Müller

, 1851,

Sennar, Sudan




Senegambia E to W Ethiopia, then S to R Zambezi, occurring S to Angola, NE Namibia and Botswana in W, and to Zimbabwe and Mozambique in E.

Descriptive notes

60 cm; 1126 g; wingspan 114 cm. Stocky appearance with slightly barred underparts, extensive orange-yellow base to bill and single pale bar across short tail distinguish from... read more


Calls regularly, both perched and in flight, especially in early morning; mainly gives a loud,... read more


Riverine forest, gallery forest and woodland associated with riparian systems; does not enter... read more

Food and feeding

Mainly small snakes up to 75 cm but also small monitor lizards, small tortoises, rodents, amphibia and some fish and insects. Perches on... read more


Laying Dec–Apr in Zambia and Feb–Apr in Malawi; Dec–Mar in Zimbabwe; suspected Jan–Feb in NE Africa, nest-building... read more


Usually sedentary within linear riverine forest habitats, but may move seasonally into adjacent... read more

Status and conservation

Not globally threatened (Least Concern). CITES II. Locally common but with patchy linear distribution. Vulnerable to degradation of riverine habitat, e.g. in NE Namibia,... read more

Recommended citation

Kemp, A.C. & Kirwan, G.M. (2020). Western Banded Snake-eagle (Circaetus cinerascens). In: del Hoyo, J., Elliott, A., Sargatal, J., Christie, D.A. & de Juana, E. (eds.). Handbook of the Birds of the World Alive. Lynx Edicions, Barcelona. (retrieved from on 24 February 2020).