The Wildebeest's guide to South Africa

Steppe Eagle

Afrikaans name: Steppe-arend

Steppe Eagle

Steppe Eagle

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Aquila nipalensis

With a length of up to 75 cm and a wingspan of up to 2.6 metres this is definitely one large and magnificent eagle. The Steppe Eagle is a summer visitor to South Africa and is only likely to be seen between October and February. They migrate back to Europe and Asia and breed in the northern hemisphere summer.

The Steppe Eagle is somewhat similar to the Tawny Eagle which is more common in South Africa. It is dark brown with yellow on the bill. It has a dark eye, and the yellow gape of its bill extends to behind the eye. Its feet are yellow.

The Steppe Eagle has a limited range while on its summer visit to our country. It is found in a narrow band from the extreme north-east of KwaZulu-Natal, through Kruger National Park, and along our northern border as far as the Kalahari Gemsbok National Park.

Despite being a seemingly powerful bird, it mostly feeds on small things such as termites and Red-billed Queleas. It will also eat carrion and sometimes catches small mammals. It often eats on the ground, particularly when feeding on termites. The Steppe Eagle may sometimes be seen in large flocks, particularly if there is an abundance of food in the area.

References and further reading

Wildlife of Southern Africa - Author: Martin Withers and David Hosking - Published: 2011 - Page: 60

The Status & Conservation of Birds of Prey in the Transvaal - Author: W. Tarboton and D. Allan - Published: 1984 - Page: 35

Vanishing Eagles - Author: Philip Burton - Published: 1987 - Page: 72

The Birds of South Africa - 1st Edition - Author: Dr. Austin Roberts - Published: 1949 - Page: 53

Southern African Bird Names Explained - Author: Charles Clinning - Published: 1989 - Page: 15

Sasol Birds of Southern Africa - 4th Edition - Author: Ian Sinclair et al. - Published: 2011 - Page: 98

Sasol Birds of Southern Africa - 1st Edition - Author: Ian Sinclair et al. - Published: 1993 - Page: 92

Sasol Birds of Prey of Africa and its Islands - Author: Alan and Meg Kemp - Published: 1998 - Page: 82

Roberts Birds of Southern Africa - 5th Edition - Author: Gordon Lindsay Maclean - Published: 1985 - Page: 119

Roberts Birds of Southern Africa - 6th Edition - Author: Gordon Lindsay Maclean - Published: 1993 - Page: 114

Roberts Birds of South Africa - 4th Edition - Author: McLachlan and Liversidge - Published: 1981 - Page: 98

Roberts Birds of South Africa - 3rd Edition - Author: McLachlan and Liversidge - Published: 1975 - Page: 91

Newmans Birds of Southern Africa - 7th Edition - Author: Ken Newman - Published: 2000 - Page: 164

Newmans Birds of Southern Africa - 1st Edition - Author: Ken Newman - Published: 1984 - Page: 164

Ian Sinclairs Field Guide to the Birds of Southern Africa - 2nd Edition - Author: Ian Sinclair - Published: 1988 - Page: 76

Field Guide to the Birds of Kruger National Park - Author: Ian Sinclair and Ian Whyte - Published: 1991 - Page: 56

Collins Illustrated Checklist - Birds of Southern Africa - 1st edition - Author: Ber van Perlo - Published: 1999 - Page: 18

Eagles, Hawks & Falcons of the World - Author: Leslie Brown and Dean Amadon - Published: 1989 - Page: 644

Birds of the Transvaal - Author: Tarboton, Kemp and Kemp - Published: 1987 - Page: 47

Birds of Prey of the World - Author: Friedhelm Weick - Published: 1980 - Page: 124

Birds of Southern Africa - Kruger National Park - Author: Kenneth Newman - Published: 1985 - Page: 70

Birds of the South Western Cape - Author: Joy Frandsen - Published: 0 - Page: 58

Birds of Prey of Southern Africa - Author: Peter Steyn - Published: 1985 - Page: 73

An Introduction to the Birds of Prey of South Africa - Author: D.V. Prout-Jones - Published: 1974 - Page: 103

An Introduction to the Birds of Prey of South Africa - Author: D.V. Prout-Jones - Published: 1974 - Page: 14

African Birds of Prey - Author: Leslie Brown - Published: 1970 - Page: 108


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List of South African Birds

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