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.
Clark, W. S. 1999. Plumage differences and taxonomic status of three similar Circaetus snake-eagles. Bulletin of the British Ornithologists' Club 119: 56-59.
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).
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).
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).
Related state of the world's birds case studies
Brown, L. H.; Urban, E. K.; Newman, K. 1982. The birds of Africa vol I. Academic Press, London.
Clark, W. S. 1999. Plumage differences and taxonomic status of three similar Circaetus snake-eagles. Bulletin of the British Ornithologists" Club 119: 56-59.
del Hoyo, J.; Elliott, A.; Sargatal, J. 1994. Handbook of the Birds of the World, vol. 2: New World Vultures to Guineafowl. Lynx Edicions, Barcelona, Spain.
Dowsett, R. J.; Forbes-Watson, A. D. 1993. Checklist of birds of the Afrotropical and Malagasy regions. Tauraco Press, Liège, Belgium.
Ferguson-Lees, J.; Christie, D. A. 2001. Raptors of the world. Christopher Helm, London.
Sibley, C. G.; Monroe, B. L. 1990. Distribution and taxonomy of birds of the world. Yale University Press, New Haven, USA.
Sibley, C. G.; Monroe, B. L. 1993. A supplement to "Distribution and taxonomy of birds of the world". Yale University Press, New Haven, USA.
Snow, D. W.; Perrins, C. M. 1998. The Birds of the Western Palearctic vol. 1: Non-Passerines. Oxford University Press, Oxford.
Strix. 2012. Developing and testing the methodology for assessing and mapping the sensitivity of migratory birds to wind energy development. BirdLife International, Cambridge.
Text account compilers
Khwaja, N., Temple, H.
BirdLife International (2014) Species factsheet: Circaetus gallicus. Downloaded from http://www.birdlife.org on 21/04/2014. Recommended citation for factsheets for more than one species: BirdLife International (2014) IUCN Red List for birds. Downloaded from http://www.birdlife.org on 21/04/2014.
This information is based upon, and updates, the information published in BirdLife International (2000) Threatened birds of the world. Barcelona and Cambridge, UK: Lynx Edicions and BirdLife International, BirdLife International (2004) Threatened birds of the world 2004 CD-ROM and BirdLife International (2008) Threatened birds of the world 2008 CD-ROM. These sources provide the information for species accounts for the birds on the IUCN Red List.
To provide new information to update this factsheet or to correct any errors, please email BirdLife
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Additional resources for this species
|Current IUCN Red List category||Least Concern|
|Family||Accipitridae (Osprey, kites, hawks and eagles)|
|Species name author||(Gmelin, 1788)|
|Population size||51000-156000 mature individuals|
|Distribution size (breeding/resident)||13,000,000 km2|
|Links to further information|
|- Additional Information on this species|