This web page uses its own cookies and the third-party cookies to collect the information which help us make the service as good as possible. By no means is our intention to use it for gathering personal data.

Cookies policy


Birding Málaga


Common name Short-toed snake eagle
Scientific name Circaetus gallicus
Type Forest birds
Status Summer

Large bird of prey (approx 69 cm or 27 in) with long and wide wings (wingspan approx 175 cm or 5.5 ft). When perched its head and big yellow eyes stand out. Short and bare tarsi (without feathers). White plumage with small brown spots. Brown back, head and neck. In flight the dark throat on wings and clear belly are outlined. Tips of wings and tail with dark stripe. Able to hover in flight.


Woodland environment

Where it lives

Raptor of semiforestal environments and open spaces. It uses woodland areas mainly to breed, from sea level to 1400 meters of altitude, and prefers warm mid-mountain environments and areas. Present in pine woods, holm and cork oak woods, grassland and countryside. This eagle uses open or partially wooded areas, pastures and crops as hunting areas.

How it lives

Species present in Malaga especially during the summer. There are also specimens in migratory passage and in recent years some of them wintering. This raptor builds its nest in trees of a certain size in wooded areas. The laying consists of a single egg. It feeds mostly on reptiles and uses sunny slopes with scattered trees and shrubs to hunt snakes and lizards, stalking them from elevated perches or hovering from the air after prospecting their territory with numerous passes at different heights.

Where it can be seen in Malaga

Frequent in almost all the Great Path, although it is not an abundant species. It can be watched, for example, in stages 5, 7, 8, 9, 10, 13, 16, 20, 21, 23, 24, 25, 26, 27, 28, 29, 31, 32, 33 and 34.

Curious facts

The Short-toed Snake Eagle is the only raptor present in Malaga capable of hunting snakes, including vipers, which are scarce prey, difficult to hunt and very aggressive. When it catches them it destroys their head with pecks and engulfs them whole while still alive.

Wintering Summer Resident Migration