The Southern Banded Snake Eagle inhabits coastal forests and their edges where they feed primarily on reptiles, including venomous snakes, and amphibians. They will also venture into commercial timber plantations that replaced their native forest habitat over much of their local range.
Monogamous and territorial, pairs of Southern Banded Snake Eagles construct their stick-platform nests in the canopies of tall indigenous or plantation trees and usually use these for several consecutive breeding seasons. The female lays a single egg in spring and takes most of the responsibility for its incubation over a 7 week period and for caring for the chick at the nest for its first few weeks after hatching, while the male does most of the hunting to provide food for the female and chick. Fully grown they measure about 58cm long, boast a wingspan of around 1.25m and weigh approximately 1kg.
With a very low density population, estimated between 1,000 and 3,000 spreading over a distribution stretching along Africa’s Indian Ocean coast from southern Somalia to the northern corner of Kwazulu-Natal Province in South Africa, the IUCN considers the Southern Banded Snake Eagle to be near-threatened. Most of their very small local population, probably numbering well below 100 individuals and considered vulnerable, is found in the iSimangaliso Wetland Park.