Taxonomy [top]

Kingdom Phylum Class Order Family
Animalia Chordata Aves Accipitriformes Accipitridae

Scientific Name: Circaetus fasciolatus
Species Authority: Kaup, 1850
Common Name(s):
English Southern Banded Snake-eagle, Southern Banded Snake Eagle, Fasciated Snake-Eagle
French Circaète barré
Taxonomic Source(s): del Hoyo, J., Collar, N.J., Christie, D.A., Elliott, A. and Fishpool, L.D.C. 2014. HBW and BirdLife International Illustrated Checklist of the Birds of the World. Lynx Edicions BirdLife International.
Identification information: 60cm. A small snake-eagle with barred underparts and three white bars on the relatively long tail. Dark brown upperparts and rufous brown underparts barred white below breast. Greyish face. Juvenile white below streaked with black. Yellow cere and legs. Similar spp. Western Banded Snake-eagle C. cinerascens has a single pale bar across a short tail, and has less barring on the underparts.

Assessment Information [top]

Red List Category & Criteria: Near Threatened ver 3.1
Year Published: 2012
Date Assessed: 2012-05-01
Assessor(s): BirdLife International
Reviewer(s): Taylor, J. & Butchart, S.
Contributor(s): Bennun, L. & Parker, V.
Facilitator/Compiler(s): Evans, M., Martin, R, O'Brien, A., Robertson, P., Symes, A., Taylor, J.
This species is classified as Near Threatened owing to its small population, which is suspected to be declining owing to habitat loss and degradation. However, further evidence of such declines, or clarification of the subpopulation structure, may qualify the species for uplisting to a higher threat category.

Previously published Red List assessments:
2008 Near Threatened (NT)
2004 Near Threatened (NT)
2000 Lower Risk/near threatened (LR/nt)
1994 Lower Risk/near threatened (LR/nt)
1988 Near Threatened (NT)

Geographic Range [top]

Range Description: Circaetus fasciolatus occurs from southern Somalia, Kenya, Tanzania, Mozambique to north-eastern South Africa, extending up the Save River (Mozambique) to south-eastern Zimbabwe (Brown et al. 1982). It is generally found within 20 km of the coast, except along major rivers (del Hoyo et al. 1994), in the lower Tana River forests in Kenya, the Usambara Mountains in Tanzania, and in Zimbabwe (Brown et al. 1982). It is uncommon, occurring at low densities, over most of its range (Brown et al. 1982, Seddon et al. 1999) but may be locally common in the East Usambara Mountains (Stuart and Hutton 1977). In South Africa, where it has suffered a range reduction (no longer found in the southerly part of its former range), the total population is only 40-50 pairs (Harrison et al. 1997a). In the early 1990s it was recorded in only 16 out of 31 coastal forest blocks in Kenya and Tanzania (Burgess and Muir 1994), and a more recent survey recorded it in only 24 out of 41 forests (L. Bennun in litt. 1999).

Countries occurrence:
Kenya; Mozambique; Somalia; South Africa; Tanzania, United Republic of; Zimbabwe
Continuing decline in area of occupancy (AOO): Unknown
Extreme fluctuations in area of occupancy (AOO): No
Estimated extent of occurrence (EOO) - km2: 601000
Continuing decline in extent of occurrence (EOO): Unknown
Extreme fluctuations in extent of occurrence (EOO): No
Continuing decline in number of locations: Unknown
Extreme fluctuations in the number of locations: No
Upper elevation limit (metres): 1500
Range Map: Click here to open the map viewer and explore range.

Population [top]

Population: This species has a limited range and usually occurs at low densities; its population is estimated at 1,000-3,000 individuals, roughly equivalent to 670-2,000 mature individuals.

Trend Justification:  The population is suspected to be in decline owing to ongoing habitat destruction.
Current Population Trend: Decreasing
Additional data:
Number of mature individuals: 670-2000 Continuing decline of mature individuals: Unknown
Extreme fluctuations: No Population severely fragmented: No
Continuing decline in subpopulations: Unknown
Extreme fluctuations in subpopulations: No All individuals in one subpopulation: No
No. of individuals in largest subpopulation: 100

Habitat and Ecology [top]

Habitat and Ecology: It is a secretive raptor feeding almost exclusively on snakes and lizards (Brown et al. 1982), but also taking rodents, amphibia, arthropods and birds (del Hoyo et al. 1994). It is confined mainly to dense coastal and riverine forest, also ranging into adjacent marshes and floodplains (del Hoyo et al. 1994). Anthropogenic habitats adjacent to forest are used for foraging and the species may nest in plantations of introduced Eucalyptus spp. (Borghesio et al. 2008). The species is sedentary and resident throughout much of its range, except for some movement north into Kenya during the dry season (May-September). Egg-laying occurs in July-October in East Africa and September-October in southern Africa. Its small nest is constructed from sticks and located in an upper fork of a forest tree, well-hidden amongst creeping plants (Parkes 2007). The clutch-size is one (del Hoyo et al. 1994).

Systems: Terrestrial
Continuing decline in area, extent and/or quality of habitat: Unknown
Generation Length (years): 12.9
Movement patterns: Not a Migrant

Threats [top]

Major Threat(s): Coastal forest is threatened with degradation and fragmentation (particularly along rivers) (del Hoyo et al. 1994) as a result of the extraction of wood for use as timber, charcoal, poles and firewood (Burgess and Muir 1994). In Mozambique, it probably no longer occurs on the coast between the Limpopo and Save rivers due to human population pressure and deforestation, while the population south of the Save river is probably fewer than 50 birds . (Parker in litt. 1999).

Conservation Actions [top]

Conservation Actions: Conservation Actions Underway
CITES Appendix II.

Conservation Actions Proposed
Conduct regular surveys to monitor the population. Monitor rates of forest clearance and degradation in its range. Increase the area of protected habitat across its range.

Citation: BirdLife International. 2012. Circaetus fasciolatus. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species 2012: e.T22695277A38170421. . Downloaded on 07 October 2015.
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