Bird Species of the World's Boreal Forests


Circaetus gallicus
Short-toed Eagle


Distinguishing Features - Short-toed Eagle adults are easily recognized in the field by their predominantly white underside. At rest the grey to brown upper parts, barred tail, bare tarsus an brilliant yellow eyes make the European race easy to tell apart from any other eagle of the region.

Short-toed Eagle Habitat

A bird of open or lightly wooded country. Wide distribution throughout southern and central Europe to southwestern Russia and southern Asia; northern populations tend to migrate south for winter, whereas the southern populations are resident.


Specialises in reptiles, mainly snakes, but also some lizards; occasionally small mammals to the size of a rabbit; rarely birds.


The Short-toed Eagle is generally very silent. On occasions it emits a variety of musical whistling notes. They are accomplished fliers and spend more time on the wing than do most members of their genus. They favour soaring over hills slopes or hilltops on updrafts, and do much of their hunting from this position, at heights of up to 500 m. When quartering open country they frequently hover, their wings gently fanning, similar to a kestrel.

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