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Martial Eagle

Afrikaans name: Bre√ękoparend

Magnificent Martial Eagle

Photo © Alta Oosthuizen -

Polemaetus bellicosus

Although it is not a common bird the magnificent Martial Eagle has been recorded over virtually the whole of South Africa.

Martial Eagles can reach a weight of 6 kg and have a wingspan of 2.6 metres.

This powerful bird swoops down on its prey for a height and can take mammals up to the size of an Impala. It has been recorded taking other mammals such as Warthogs, Chacma Baboons, Caracal, hares and rabbits and Rock Hyrax. Larger reptiles such as the Rock Monitor and Nile Monitor are eaten as well as some bigger birds.

A male and female establish a bond and stick together for a number of years. They lay their eggs in a massive nest in a tree. The nest is built by the female.

One egg is the normal clutch size and it is tended to by the female. Although the chick leaves the nest at about 3 months old it will still use the nest as a roosting spot for a number of months.


References and further reading

A First Guide to South African Birds - 7th Edition - Author: Leonard Gill - Year Published: 1975 - Page: 131

Animals of the Kruger National Park - Author: G. de Graaff - Year Published: 1987 - Page: 64

Birds of Prey of Southern Africa - Author: Peter Steyn - Year Published: 1985 - Page: 103

Birds of the Natal Drakensberg Park - Author: Robin Little and William Bainbridge - Year Published: 1992 - Page: 17

Birds of the South Western Cape - Author: Joy Frandsen - Year Published: - Page: 54

Collins Illustrated Checklist - Birds of Southern Africa - 1st edition - Author: Ber van Perlo - Year Published: 1999 - Page: 19

Eagle Days - Author: Peter Steyn - Year Published: 1973 - Page: 75

Eagles, Hawks & Falcons of the World - Author: Leslie Brown and Dean Amadon - Year Published: 1989 - Page: 716

Field Guide to the Birds of Kruger National Park - Author: Ian Sinclair and Ian Whyte - Year Published: 1991 - Page: 58

Reader's Digest Illustrated Guide to the Game Parks and Nature Reserves of Southern Africa - 2nd edi - Author: Editor - Alan Duggan - Year Published: 1991 - Page: 409

Roberts' Birds of Southern Africa - 5th Edition - Author: Gordon Lindsay Maclean - Year Published: 1985 - Page: 125

Roberts' Birds of Southern Africa - 6th Edition - Author: Gordon Lindsay Maclean - Year Published: 1993 - Page: 121

Sasol Birds of Southern Africa - 4th Edition - Author: Ian Sinclair et al. - Year Published: 2011 - Page: 94

The Status & Conservation of Birds of Prey in the Transvaal - Author: W. Tarboton and D. Allan - Year Published: 1984 - Page: 49

Wild Issue 29 - Author: - Year Published: 2014 - Page: 36

List of South African Birds

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