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25 Birds that Eat Snakes (A to Z List with Pictures)

25 Birds that Eat Snakes

Examples of birds that eat snakes include the bald eagle, brown snake eagle, chicken, common crane, and crested caracara.

There are a variety of birds that eat snakes, both venomous and non-venomous. The two types of birds that are the most common to feast on snakes are raptors and scavengers.

Raptors, which include hawks, eagles, and falcons, tend to take down live snakes. Scavengers, such as vultures and crows, will eat dead or dying snakes. Some species of birds, like roadrunners and herons, will eat any type of snake they come across.

Here we’ll take a look at some of the birds that hunt snakes and find out why they do it.

Examples of Birds that Eat Snakes

1. Bald Eagle

Bald Eagle
Scientific NameHaliaeetus leucocephalus
Type of AnimalBird
Rangemost of Canada and Alaska, all of the contiguous United States, and northern Mexico

The bald eagle is one of the most iconic predators in North America. These massive birds of prey are known to hunt a variety of animals, including snakes. In fact, bald eagles have been known to take down rattlesnakes that are up to three times their size.

While bald eagles typically go for fish, small mammals, and carrion, they will occasionally hunt snakes. When they do go for a snake, they will either grab it with their powerful talons or use their beak to puncture the snake’s skull.

Related Article: 10 Poisonous Birds

2. Brown Snake Eagle

Brown Snake Eagle
Scientific NameCircaetus cinereus
Type of AnimalBird
RangeWest, East, and southern Africa

The brown snake eagle is a large raptor found in Africa. It has sharp talons and a powerful beak that it uses to kill its prey. This bird will typically eat non-venomous snakes, but it has been known to eat some venomous species as well.

Related Article: 26 Birds that Eat Ticks

3. Chicken

chicken
Scientific NameGallus gallus domesticus
Type of AnimalBird
RangeWorldwide

Chickens are not typically known for their snake-eating habits, but they will occasionally go after small snakes. Chickens may eat snakes to protect themselves or their young, or they may simply mistake a snake for another type of prey.

Related Article: 6 Birds with Fur

4. Common Crane

Sandhill Crane
Scientific NameGrus grus
Type of AnimalBird
Rangethe northern parts of Europe and across the Palearctic to Siberia

The common crane is a large bird that can be found in Europe and Asia. It has a wingspan of up to 2.3 meters (7.5 feet) and a body length of up to 1.6 meters (5.2 feet). Cranes are very good at flying and can reach speeds of up to 80 kilometers per hour (50 miles per hour).

The crane is a carnivore and will eat a variety of animals, including snakes. Cranes typically prey on small snakes, such as garter snakes and blind snakes. They will also eat larger snakes, such as pythons and boas.

Related Article: 19 Birds that Look Like Cranes

5. Crested Caracara

Crested Caracara
Scientific NameCaracara cheriway
Type of AnimalBird
Rangethroughout south-central Florida, and also occurs in Texas, Arkansas, Mexico, Cuba, and Panama

This South American bird of prey will eat just about anything, including venomous snakes. The crested caracara has been known to take down rattlesnakes, coral snakes, and even the feared anaconda.

Their sharp talons and powerful beak make short work of their snake prey. Caracaras will sometimes team up with other birds to take down a snake. They have even been known to follow behind bobcats and coyotes, waiting to steal their kill.

Related Article: 11 Birds with White Heads and Black Bodies

6. Crow

crow
Scientific NameCorvus
Type of AnimalBird
RangeWorldwide

Crows are opportunistic feeders and will eat just about anything they can find. This includes snakes, which make up a small part of their diet. Crows typically go for the smaller snakes, but have been known to take down larger prey.

7. Ducks

Marbled Duck
Scientific NameAnatidae
Type of AnimalBird
RangeWorldwide

While most ducks don’t go out of their way to eat snakes, they will if they come across one. Ducks have been known to kill and eat garter snakes, water snakes, and even rattlesnakes.

Related Article: 19 Birds that Look Like Ostriches

8. Geese

feeding geese
Scientific NameAnser
Type of AnimalBird
RangeWorldwide

Geese will often chase and attack snakes that enter their territory. This is likely because they see the snake as a threat to their young. The goslings are small and vulnerable, making them an easy target for predators like snakes.

9. Golden Eagle

golden eagle
Scientific NameAquila chrysaetos
Type of AnimalBird
RangeMexico through much of western North America as far north as Alaska

The golden eagle is a large raptor that can be found in North America, Europe, and Asia. These eagles typically hunt small mammals like rabbits and squirrels, but they will also go after snakes.

While most of the time golden eagles will eat non-venomous snakes, there have been reports of them eating rattlesnakes. It’s believed that they are able to do this because they hunt from the air and can take their prey by surprise.

10. Great Blue Heron

Great Blue Heron
Scientific NameArdea herodias
Type of AnimalBird
RangeNorth America

The Great Blue Heron is a large wading bird that lives in North and Central America. These herons will eat just about any type of snake they come across, including venomous ones. They have been known to stand still and wait for a snake to come out of its hiding spot before striking.

11. Great Horned Owl

Great Horned Owl
Scientific NameBubo virginianus
Type of AnimalBird
Rangepractically all habitats in North America, from swamps to deserts to northern coniferous forests near treeline

The great horned owl is a top predator in the snake world. It’s one of the few animals that will take on a venomous snake, such as a rattlesnake. The owl will kill the snake with its powerful talons and then eat it whole.

12. Kestrel

American Kestrel
Scientific NameFalco sparverius
Type of AnimalBird
Rangethroughout the Western Hemisphere from Alaska and Canada to southernmost South America

The kestrel is a small raptor that’s found all over the world. These birds are known for their hunting skills and their sharp eyesight. They feast on a variety of prey, including snakes. Kestrels will often target young or weak snakes that are easy to catch.

13. Kookaburra

Kookaburra
Scientific NameDacelo
Type of AnimalBird
Rangethe eucalyptus forests of eastern Australia

The kookaburra is a large kingfisher that is found in Australia and New Guinea. It has a distinctive call that sounds like laughing, which is how it got its name. The kookaburra will eat almost anything, but it has a particular fondness for snakes.

It has been known to take down snakes that are much larger than itself, including venomous snakes like the eastern brown snake.

14. Laughing Falcon

Laughing Falcon
Scientific NameHerpetotheres cachinnans
Type of AnimalBird
Rangefrom northern Mexico, through much of Central America, and south into South America, to northern Argentina

This South and Central American raptor prey on a wide variety of animals, including snakes. The laughing falcon will sometimes work in pairs to flush out its prey from the underbrush. Once the prey is in the open, the laughing falcon will dive down and snatch it up with its talons.

15. Northern Goshawk

Northern Goshawk
Scientific NameAccipiter gentilis
Type of AnimalBird
RangeNorth America, Europe, northwestern Africa, continental Asia, and Japan

The northern goshawk is a large hawk that is found in wooded areas across North America, Europe, and Asia. These birds of prey are known to hunt a variety of animals, including snakes. Goshawks will typically go after smaller snakes, such as garter snakes and grass snakes.

16. Ostrich

Ostrich
Scientific NameStruthio camelus
Type of AnimalBird
RangeAfrica

The ostrich is a large bird that is native to Africa. These birds are the only living members of the genus Struthio. Ostriches are fast runners and can reach speeds of up to 40 miles per hour. They are also good swimmers and can travel through water at 6 miles per hour.

Ostriches typically eat plants and insects, but they will also eat lizards, snakes, and rodents. When an ostrich catches a snake, it will kill it by stomping on it with its powerful feet.

17. Peacock

Peacock
Scientific NamePavo cristatus
Type of AnimalBird
RangeIndia and Sri Lanka

The national bird of India has been known to feast on snakes, both venomous and non-venomous. Peacocks are immune to snake venom, so they can eat the most dangerous snakes without any ill effects.

It’s not known exactly why peacocks eat snakes, but it could be for one of two reasons.

First, eating snakes helps keep the peacock population healthy and free of diseases. Second, snakes are a good source of protein and other nutrients that help the peacock grow and stay healthy.

18. Red-Tailed Hawk

Red-Tailed Hawks
Scientific NameButeo jamaicensis
Type of AnimalBird
Rangecentral Alaska through Canada and across the entire United States, south through Mexico and into Central America

The red-tailed hawk is a common type of raptor found throughout North America. These birds of prey are known to feast on a variety of small animals, including snakes. In fact, snakes make up a significant portion of the red-tailed hawk’s diet.

While most red-tailed hawks prefer to eat rodents, they will also readily eat snakes. The hawks will hunt both venomous and non-venomous snakes, although they seem to prefer the latter. Red-tailed hawks have even been known to tackle rattlesnakes, one of the most dangerous types of snakes in North America.

19. Roadrunner

Roadrunner
Scientific NameGeococcyx
Type of AnimalBird
RangeTexas, Oklahoma, New Mexico, Arizona, and southern California

The roadrunner is a fast-running bird that inhabits the southwestern United States and Mexico. It’s also known as the ” snakebird” because it’s known to eat snakes. The roadrunner is equipped with long legs and sharp claws that help it catch and kill its prey.

The roadrunner has a diet that consists mostly of insects, lizards, and snakes. It will also eat small mammals, such as rodents. The roadrunner is known to be one of the few predators of the venomous coral snake.

20. Rooster

Rooster
Scientific NameGallus domesticus
Type of AnimalBird
RangeWorldwide

The rooster is a well-known bird that many people keep as a pet. They are also known to eat snakes. A rooster will attack and kill a snake if it feels threatened by the reptile. The rooster has sharp claws and a beak that can do some serious damage to a snake.

21. Secretary Bird

Secretary Bird
Scientific NameSagittarius serpentarius
Type of AnimalBird
Rangesub-Saharan Africa

The secretary bird is a large bird of prey that is native to Africa. These birds hunt on the ground and will eat just about anything they can catch, including snakes. In fact, snakes make up a large part of their diet.

The secretary bird has long legs that it uses to kick its prey to death. Once the snake is dead, the bird will tear it apart and eat it.

22. Short-toed Eagle

Short-toed Eagle
Scientific NameCircaetus gallicus
Type of AnimalBird
Rangeopen plains, arid stony scrub areas, and semi-desert areas of Southern and Central Europe, the Middle East, Russia, and Africa

The Short-toed Eagle is a medium-sized raptor with a wingspan of about 2.3 meters (7.5 feet). It’s found in Europe, Asia, and Africa, and preys on small mammals and reptiles.

This eagle has been known to eat venomous snakes, such as the puff adder and the saw-scaled viper. It’s thought that the bird gets immunity to the venom by eating small amounts of it over time.

The Short-toed Eagle will either capture its prey on the ground or snatch it out of the air. Once it has a snake in its talons, it will fly to a perch and bash the snake’s head against a hard surface to kill it.

23. Stork

stork
Scientific NameCiconiidae
Type of AnimalBird
RangeAfrica, Asia, and Europe

The stork is a large wading bird with a long neck and bill. It’s found in Africa, Europe, and Asia. The stork is known to eat venomous snakes, such as cobras. It’s thought that the stork uses its long bill to stab the snake in the back of the head, paralyzing it. Then the stork will swallow the snake whole.

24. Vultures

vulture
Scientific NameCathartes
Type of AnimalBird
RangeAsia, Africa, and Europe

Vultures are carrion birds, which means that they eat dead animals. When a snake dies, whether from being eaten by another predator or from natural causes, vultures will swoop in and feast on the carcass.

While they don’t typically go after live snakes, there have been reports of them attacking sick or injured ones.

25. Wild Turkeys

wild turkey
Scientific NameMeleagris gallopavo
Type of AnimalBird
Rangeeastern and central North America

Despite their name, these birds are not closely related to the domesticated turkeys that many people eat on Thanksgiving. Wild turkeys are actually part of the gamebird family, which includes grouse and pheasants.

Wild turkeys are known to eat a variety of things, including small mammals, reptiles, amphibians, fruits, and nuts. They will also eat the occasional snake. While most snakes that wild turkeys eat are non-venomous, the birds have been known to die after eating a venomous snake.

Related Article: 20 Birds that Look Like Turkeys

Conclusion

There are many animals that will eat snakes, including herons, ducks, hawks, crows, barn owls, and even chickens. Some of these animals hunt snakes for food while others do it to protect themselves or their young.

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