A Black Breasted Snake Eagle Came for a Visit

Dr Deon de Beer and Sr Brigitte Böhmer examining a Black-chested Snake eagle.
Dr Deon de Beer and Sr Brigitte Böhmer examining a Black Breasted Snake eagle.
It’s a busy morning at the practice, as it usually is. The crisp morning air starts giving way to the warming sun as a familiar vehicle pulls up with a special guest needing our help. It’s Hank Chalmers from Eagle Encounters with a rescued Black-Breasted Snake Eagle juvenile, and in need of a thorough consultation to ascertain the full extent of possible injuries. After a full work up and x-rays it was clear that the hole in its crop was the only injury requiring immediate attention and will require surgery to repair the crop with some rehabilitation time lying ahead.

Black-chested Snake eagle wing inspection
Wing inspection.
A silent hum of excitement flows through the practice as being privileged enough to give a helping hand to such an magnificent creature is not bestowed on us everyday.

Once a commonplace sighting soaring the skies or taking rest on high outer branches of a tall tree - but no more. Competition for prey is fierce as they mainly eat snakes and other reptiles; like so many other predatory animals. Decline in suitable nesting areas and prey plays a big role in declining numbers, with humans also playing their part.

A pair will only raise one chick every year or two if conditions are favourable with a natural distribution throughout most of South Africa, but sightings here in our part of the Western Cape have been very scarce over the last 20 years.

However, due to the collaboration of two passionate bird lovers, Dr. de Beer and Hank Chalmers from Eagle Encounters, this beautiful youngster has a chance to soar our blue skies once again, giving it the best fighting chance it can get!


The Black-chested Snake eagle, giving us the eye
The Black Breasted Snake eagle, giving us the eye.

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