Circaetus gallicus


Taxonomy [top]

Kingdom Phylum Class Order Family

Scientific Name: Circaetus gallicus
Species Authority: (Gmelin, 1788)
Common Name(s):
English Short-toed Snake-eagle, Short-toed Eagle, Short-toed Snake Eagle
Taxonomic Notes: Circaetus gallicus (including beaudouini) and C. pectoralis (Sibley and Monroe 1990, 1993) were previously lumped into C. gallicus following Dowsett and Forbes-Watson (1993). Following a review by the BirdLife Taxonomic Working Group all three are now considered distinct species based on evidence provided by Clark (1999) and Kemp (1994).

Assessment Information [top]

Red List Category & Criteria: Least Concern ver 3.1
Year Published: 2013
Date Assessed: 2013-11-01
Assessor(s): BirdLife International
Reviewer(s): Butchart, S.
Facilitator/Compiler(s): Khwaja, N., Temple, H.
This species has an extremely large range, and hence does not approach the thresholds for Vulnerable under the range size criterion (Extent of Occurrence <20,000 km2 combined with a declining or fluctuating range size, habitat extent/quality, or population size and a small number of locations or severe fragmentation). The population trend appears to be stable, and hence the species does not approach the thresholds for Vulnerable under the population trend criterion (>30% decline over 10 years or three generations). The population size is very large, and hence does not approach the thresholds for Vulnerable under the population size criterion (<10,000 mature individuals with a continuing decline estimated to be >10% in 10 years or three generations, or with a specified population structure). For these reasons the species is evaluated as Least Concern.
2012 Least Concern

Geographic Range [top]

Afghanistan; Albania; Algeria; Andorra; Armenia (Armenia); Azerbaijan; Bahrain; Bangladesh; Belarus; Benin; Bosnia and Herzegovina; Bulgaria; Burkina Faso; Cameroon; Central African Republic; Chad; China; Congo, The Democratic Republic of the; Côte d'Ivoire; Croatia; Czech Republic; Egypt; Estonia; Ethiopia; France; Gambia; Georgia; Ghana; Gibraltar; Greece; Guinea; Guinea-Bissau; Hungary; India; Indonesia; Iran, Islamic Republic of; Iraq; Israel; Italy; Jordan; Kazakhstan; Kenya; Kuwait; Kyrgyzstan; Latvia; Lebanon; Liberia; Libya; Lithuania; Macedonia, the former Yugoslav Republic of; Mali; Mauritania; Moldova; Montenegro; Morocco; Myanmar; Nepal; Niger; Nigeria; Oman; Pakistan; Palestinian Territory, Occupied; Poland; Portugal; Qatar; Romania; Russian Federation; Saudi Arabia; Senegal; Serbia (Serbia); Singapore; Slovakia; Slovenia; Somalia; South Sudan; Spain (Canary Is. - Vagrant); Sudan; Switzerland; Syrian Arab Republic; Tajikistan; Tanzania, United Republic of; Thailand; Timor-Leste; Togo; Tunisia; Turkey; Turkmenistan; Uganda; Ukraine; United Arab Emirates; Uzbekistan; Viet Nam; Western Sahara; Yemen; Zambia
Austria; Belgium; Bhutan; Cambodia; Cyprus; Denmark; Finland; Germany; Lao People's Democratic Republic; Lesotho; Luxembourg; Malaysia; Malta; Mongolia; Netherlands; Norway; Sierra Leone; Sweden; United Kingdom
Range Map: Click here to open the map viewer and explore range.

Population [top]

Population: In Europe, the breeding population is estimated to number 8400-13000 breeding pairs, equating to 25,200-39,000 individuals (BirdLife International 2004). Europe forms 25-49% of the global range, so a very preliminary estimate of the global population size is 51,400-156,000 individuals, although further validation of this estimate is needed.
For further information about this species, see 22734216_circaetus_gallicus.pdf.
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Population Trend: Stable

Habitat and Ecology [top]

Habitat and Ecology:

Behaviour Birds breeding in the Palearctic are migratory, with the population in South-East Asia resident. Most migrants winter in tropical North Africa, with some eastern birds moving to the Indian Subcontinent (del Hoyo et al. 1994, Ferguson-Lees and Christie 2001). Migrants move south between August and November, and north between February and May (Ferguson-Lees and Christie 2001). Birds are usually observed singly or in pairs, even on migration, though migrants will sometimes form groups of up to 12 (Snow and Perrins 1998, Ferguson-Lees and Christie 2001). They soar at c.20-100 m above the ground (Brown et al. 1982). Habitat It uses a variety of habitats within warm temperate and tropical environments, and is recorded up to 2,300 m (del Hoyo et al. 1994). Diet It specialises in feeding on reptiles, particularly snakes (del Hoyo et al. 1994). Breeding site The nest is almost always built relatively low in a tree (del Hoyo et al. 1994). Management information Although occurring in many habitats, the species always requires some degree of tree cover (del Hoyo et al. 1994).

Systems: Terrestrial

Threats [top]

Major Threat(s):

The species suffered a marked decline in northern Europe in the 19th-20th centuries, due to habitat loss and persecution (Snow and Perrins 1998, Ferguson-Lees and Christie 2001). It still suffers from shooting on Malta (del Hoyo et al. 1994). It is also very highly vulnerable to the effects of potential wind energy development (Strix 2012).

Citation: BirdLife International 2013. Circaetus gallicus. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Version 2015.2. <>. Downloaded on 29 August 2015.
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