25 Birds That Eat Snakes [2023]

Birds eat snakes, and no, it’s not just a scene from a twisted fantasy movie.

These feathery aerial predators actually have a taste for slithery serpents! Curious to know why?

Strap in for a wild journey through the bird-snake buffet.

Discover 25 Birds That Eat Snakes (The Ultimate Guide!)

When it comes to dining on snakes, there is an array of avian species that showcase this intriguing behavior.

Let’s embark on an exciting journey as we unveil 25 birds that have developed a taste for these slithering reptiles...


Hawks, known for their sharp eyesight and swift aerial maneuvers, are skilled snake hunters. 

With their powerful talons and beaks, hawks such as the Red-tailed Hawk and Cooper’s Hawk are adept at catching and devouring snakes.


While vultures are primarily associated with scavenging, they also play an active role in controlling snake populations. 

These impressive birds, like the Turkey Vulture and Black Vulture, have a knack for locating and feasting on snakes, contributing to the ecological balance.


Owls, masters of stealth and nocturnal hunters, have a captivating presence in the world of bird-snake interactions. 

Whether it’s the Great Horned Owl or the Barn Owl, these silent predators excel at surprising snakes with their precise strikes.


Crows, highly intelligent and resourceful birds, occasionally include snakes in their diet. 

Though not their primary food source, these clever creatures have been observed snacking on small snakes when the opportunity arises.


Known for their lightning-fast speed, roadrunners are famous for their ability to take down snakes. 

These quick-witted birds, like the Greater Roadrunner, rely on their agility and sharp beaks to overpower their serpentine adversaries.


Eagles, majestic symbols of power and grace, are formidable snake hunters. Species such as the 

Bald Eagle and Golden Eagle are renowned for their impressive strength and precision, allowing them to capture and consume snakes with ease.


Falcons, renowned for their incredible speed during aerial pursuits, are skilled predators of snakes. 

The Peregrine Falcon, with its unmatched diving speed, is particularly adept at snatching snakes from the ground in a swift and deadly strike.


Peacocks, known for their extravagant plumage and vibrant displays, may surprise you with their occasional snake-eating habits.

These elegant birds have been observed consuming small snakes, showcasing their versatility in dietary choices.

Laughing Kookaburras

The Laughing Kookaburra, native to Australia, possesses a hearty appetite for snakes. 

With its distinctive call that resembles infectious laughter, this charismatic bird hunts snakes with precision and fearlessness.


Herons, with their long necks and sharp beaks, excel at capturing aquatic prey, including snakes. 

Whether it’s the Great Blue Heron or the Grey Heron, these graceful birds have been observed snatching snakes from waterways with ease.

Secretary Bird

The Secretary Bird, with its unique appearance and unmistakable stride, is a true snake specialist. 

This bird of prey has exceptionally long legs and powerful kicks, enabling it to dispatch snakes with astonishing force.


Cranes, known for their elegant stature and intricate courtship dances, occasionally feast on snakes. 

These magnificent birds, like the Sandhill Crane and the Demoiselle Crane, demonstrate their versatility as opportunistic predators.


Chickens, commonly associated with farmyards and backyard coops, may seem unlikely candidates for snake consumption. 

However, these domesticated birds have been known to confront and devour small snakes, displaying their innate hunting instincts.

Wild Turkeys

Wild Turkeys, a familiar sight in many regions, have a varied diet that includes insects, fruits, and even snakes. 


While geese primarily feed on vegetation, they have been known to indulge in small snakes on occasion. 

These water-loving birds that eat snakes, like the Canada Goose and Greylag Goose, demonstrate their adaptability in dietary choices.


Ducks, with their affinity for aquatic environments, encounter snakes in their natural habitats. 

While not a staple in their diet, red faced duck such as the Mallard and Wood Duck may consume small snakes if the opportunity arises.


As the largest bird on Earth, the ostrich is a fascinating creature with some unexpected dining habits. 

While snakes may not be their primary food source, ostriches have been observed ingesting small snakes along with other small animals.


The cassowary, known for its striking appearance and powerful legs, is an omnivorous bird with a varied diet. 

These impressive birds that eat snakes have been documented consuming small, showcasing their ability to adapt to different food sources.

Greater Rhea

The Greater Rhea, a flightless bird native to South America, is a generalist when it comes to feeding habits. 

While their diet primarily consists of plants, these large birds have been spotted consuming small snakes opportunistically.


Emus, another flightless bird species, have a diverse diet that includes fruits, seeds, insects, and occasionally, small snakes. 

These agile and swift runners can seize the opportunity to snack on snakes when encountered.

Crested Caracara

The Crested Caracara, a bird of prey found in the Americas, has a penchant for snakes. 

These intelligent birds that eat snakes are often seen scavenging on snake carcasses or actively hunting and devouring small snakes.


While roosters are typically associated with crowing at dawn, they also have a reputation for being opportunistic eaters. 

Domesticated roosters have been known to encounter and consume small snakes in their surroundings.


Storks, known for their distinctive long bills and graceful flight, are primarily associated with feeding on fish and amphibians. 

However, some species, such as the Marabou Stork, have been observed including small snakes in their diet.


The Anhinga, also known as the snakebird, is aptly named for its snake-like neck and spear-like beak. 

These water-dwelling birds are skilled divers and hunt their prey, including snakes, by impaling them with their sharp bills.

Brown Snake Eagle

As its name suggests, the Brown Snake Eagle is a specialized predator of snakes. With its keen eyesight and powerful talons, this eagle species excels at hunting and capturing snakes, making them a prominent figure in the avian snake-eating community.

From geese and ducks to ostriches and emus, a wide range of bird species demonstrate an occasional or even regular inclination towards consuming snakes. 

It showcases the remarkable adaptability and versatility of these feathered hunters, reminding us of the intricate and interconnected web of life in the animal kingdom.

The Hunt Begins: Birds vs. Snakes

Picture this: a snake gracefully winding its way through the undergrowth, its forked tongue flicking in the air, and eyes scanning the surroundings with a predator’s focus. 

HabitatFound in various habitats including forests, wetlands,Found in diverse environments such as forests, grasslands, deserts, and aquatic habitats.
grasslands, and coastal regions.
Body StructureCovered in feathers, have wings for flight, beaks forCovered in scales, lack limbs, elongated bodies with a
capturing and eating prey.flexible spine.
Predatory BehaviorHunt and capture prey using beaks or talons, can diveConstrict their prey to suffocate them, venomous snakes
into water or swoop down from the air.inject venom to immobilize their prey.
DietOmnivorous or carnivorous, feed on insects, smallCarnivorous, mainly feed on small mammals, birds,
mammals, fish, and fruits.reptiles, and amphibians.
ReproductionLay eggs, incubate them until hatching.Lay eggs, some give live birth (viviparous).
Social BehaviorSome species form flocks, others are solitary.Generally solitary, but some species may gather in
groups during mating or hibernation.
Defense MechanismsCan fly away from predators, camouflage themselves inRely on camouflage, warning coloration, hissing sounds,
their surroundings, use sharp beaks or talons forand venomous bites to deter predators.
Notable ExamplesBald Eagle, Peregrine Falcon, Great Blue Heron,King Cobra, Black Mamba, Rattlesnake, Anaconda, Coral
Snowy Owl.Snake.

It seems like the snake reigns as the king of its domain—until an unexpected predator swoops in from above.

Birds, with their keen eyesight and remarkable agility, can easily spot a snake from high above, and this aerial advantage makes them formidable hunters in the serpent realm.

Talons and Beaks: The Tools of Snake Destruction

When it comes to catching and devouring snakes, birds have developed an impressive arsenal of tools. Take the majestic eagle, for instance. With its powerful talons, an eagle can snatch a snake from the ground in a lightning-fast strike. 

Bird SpeciesPredatory Tools
EaglesPowerful talons and sharp beaks
HawksStrong talons and hooked beaks
FalconsSharp talons and strong beaks
OwlsSharp talons and serrated beaks
Secretary BirdLong legs for powerful kicks and sharp beak
CassowaryPowerful legs with sharp claws
Laughing KookaburraStrong beak for seizing and crushing prey
Crested CaracaraHooked beak and strong talons
AnhingaSpear-like beak for impaling prey underwater
Brown Snake EagleSharp beak and strong talons for capturing and killing

Once captured, the snake is then brought aloft, where the bird’s razor-sharp beak comes into play. With surgical precision, the bird aims for the snake’s vital points, dispatching it with a swift and lethal strike. 

It’s a high-stakes game of predator versus prey, where the bird’s mastery of its tools ensures a successful hunt.

A Feast for the Brave: Species That Relish Snakes

Not all birds are up for the challenge of dining on snakes, but there are several brave and audacious species that consider serpents a delectable meal. 

One such avian enthusiast is the Secretary Bird, found in the grasslands of Africa. 

With its elongated legs and a distinctive crest atop its head, this bird displays remarkable snake-hunting prowess. Armed with powerful kicks, the Secretary Bird can deliver bone-crushing blows to its serpentine adversaries, shattering their spines and ensuring a swift victory.

Crouching Owl, Hidden Serpent: The Stealthy Approach

While some birds rely on strength and speed to conquer their scaly prey, others prefer a more subtle and stealthy approach. Owls, with their nocturnal nature and exceptional hearing, are masters of surprise. 

Silent as a shadow, an owl can swoop down upon an unsuspecting snake, talons outstretched, before the prey even realizes its impending doom. 

It’s a textbook example of how adaptability and cunning can triumph over the odds in the never-ending battle for survival.

The Circle of Life: Mutual Benefits and Ecological Implications

Beyond the spectacle of a bird triumphantly devouring a snake lies a deeper ecological significance. Birds that prey on snakes help maintain a balance in the ecosystem by regulating snake populations. 

As both predator and prey, snakes play a vital role in their respective ecosystems, and the presence of bird predators ensures that snakes do not become overly abundant.

This delicate interplay between predator and prey showcases the intricate web of life and the importance of biodiversity.


What birds eat the most snakes?

The Brown Snake Eagle is known for its expertise in hunting and killing snakes.

With its keen eyesight and powerful talons, this bird of prey has perfected the art of snake predation, making it one of the most effective snake killers among birds.

What is the top predator of a snake?

While snakes have few natural predators, some bird species, such as eagles, hawks, and large owls, can be considered the top predators of snakes.

These avian hunters possess the necessary tools and skills to capture and consume snakes as part of their diet.

Do chicken birds eat snakes?

Yes, chickens have been known to eat snakes, especially when encountering small snakes in their environment.

Chickens possess a natural instinct for hunting and pecking at small creatures, making them capable of consuming snakes if given the opportunity.

Can a cat eat a snake?

Yes, cats are natural predators and are capable of hunting and killing snakes, particularly smaller species.

However, it’s important to note that not all cats have the skill or inclination to tackle snakes, and encounters with venomous snakes can pose a risk to the cat’s well-being.

What animal is a snake afraid of?

Snakes, despite their reputation as fearsome predators, do have natural predators that they may fear.

Some examples include large birds of prey like eagles and hawks, as well as certain mammals such as mongoose and some larger species of wild cats.

What are the killing snakes?

Several snake species are known for their venomous bites, making them the most lethal when it comes to causing harm to humans and other animals.

Some notorious examples include the Inland Taipan, Eastern Brown Snake, Black Mamba, and King Cobra, which possess potent venoms and can deliver fatal bites if encountered without proper caution.

Julian Goldie - Owner of ChiperBirds.com

Julian Goldie

I'm a bird enthusiast and creator of Chipper Birds, a blog sharing my experience caring for birds. I've traveled the world bird watching and I'm committed to helping others with bird care. Contact me at [email protected] for assistance.