Short-toed Eagles - Slangenarenden

Short-toed Eagles


Circaetus gallicus

Pictures: Teus Luijendijk

Snakes aren't very common in The Netherlands, in fact, they have to be protected since they're only found in a few areas in the country. One of these reserves is Fochtelo- erveen, on the border of the two provinces of Friesland and Drenthe. This is apparently one of the few places where Common Viper Vipera berus  still occurs in good numbers. Apparently, for I myself have never found one.
Short-toed Eagles have the unsurpassed ability to find even these low numbers of snakes in the otherwise seemingly snakeless country of The Netherlands. In 1996, two birds were present in the National Park 'De Hoge Veluwe', where they decimated the local snake population and this year two were reported in Fochteloërveen. This site was also highlighted in the media as the site where Cranes Grus grus bred for the first time in Dutch history.
Due to lack of time, I hadn't been able to go there and have a look, but during a period of prolonged hot weather the time seemed right. Two birds can be seen here on the videograbs, which were taken from long distance (approx. 300 and 500 m, respectively).

  Short-toed Eagles  -  Slangenarenden  Circaetus gallicus   videograbs (320x), contrast enhanced.
  Fochteloërveen Fr, The Netherlands, 28 July 2001.


Copyright ©Teus Luijendijk 2001