The Wildebeest's guide to South Africa

Verreaux's Eagle

Afrikaans name: Witkruisarend

Verreaux's Eagle

Verreaux's Eagle

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Aquila verreauxii

The Verreaux’s Eagle, which is most often referred to as the Black Eagle, is a bird of prey that generates a lot of excitement when seen by birders and other nature lovers alike!

They are a resident species and can be found over most of South Africa. Their preferred habitat is areas cliffs, gorges, and rocky hills. These are the habitats also enjoyed by dassies, so it is no surprise that dassies are the favourite prey of the Verreaux’s Eagle. They tend to fly fast along these rocky outcrops while keeping a sharp eye to see if it can surprise a dassie or other prey item. They also spend a lot of time perched or soaring high in the sky.

As their more popular name suggests they are predominantly black in colour. They do have a white V-shape on their upper backs and some white on their lower backs. Their feet are yellow. The Verreaux’s Eagle obtains a length of 80 cm or so and a wingspan approaching 2 metres. Males weigh around 3.7 kg while females can weigh up to 5.8 kg.

The Verreaux’s Eagle breeds between April and June. Their very large nest is normally built on a ledge and is re-used each year. The female normally lays 2 eggs which are normally plain white in colour. The male catches food for the chicks but it is the female that feeds them.

References and further reading

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

Wildlife of the Cape Peninsula - Author: Duncan Butchart - Published: 2001 - Page: 49

Vanishing Eagles - Author: Philip Burton - Published: 1987 - Page: 90

Wild About Johannesburg - Author: Duncan Butchart - Published: 1995 - Page: 41

Wild Issue 14 - Author: - Published: 2011 - Page: 11

Wild Issue 27 - Author: - Published: 2014 - Page: 32

The Status & Conservation of Birds of Prey in the Transvaal - Author: W. Tarboton and D. Allan - Published: 1984 - Page: 29

The Black Eagle - Author: Valerie Gargett - Published: 1990 - Page: 1

The Birds of South Africa - 1st Edition - Author: Dr. Austin Roberts - Published: 1949 - Page: 52

The Birds of South Africa - Author: Hazel Stokes - Published: 1979 - Page: 8

Southern African Bird Names Explained - Author: Charles Clinning - Published: 1989 - Page: 16

Southern African Wildlife - Author: Readers Digest - Published: 1989 - Page: 151

Roberts Birds of Southern Africa - 6th Edition - Author: Gordon Lindsay Maclean - Published: 1993 - Page: 112

Roberts Birds of Southern Africa - 5th Edition - Author: Gordon Lindsay Maclean - Published: 1985 - Page: 117

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

Sasol Birds of Southern Africa - 1st Edition - Author: Ian Sinclair et al. - Published: 1993 - Page: 96

Sasol Birds of Prey of Africa and its Islands - Author: Alan and Meg Kemp - Published: 1998 - Page: 78

Roberts Birds of South Africa - 3rd Edition - Author: McLachlan and Liversidge - Published: 1975 - Page: 89

Roberts Birds of South Africa - 4th Edition - Author: McLachlan and Liversidge - Published: 1981 - Page: 95

Roberts Birds of South Africa - 2nd edition - Author: McLachlan and Liversidge - Published: 1957 - Page: 71

Questions and Answers - Birds of Southern Africa - Author: Deirdre Richards - Published: 1990 - Page: 16

Know your Birds of Prey - Author: - Published: 0 - Page: 32

Meeting with Birds - Author: Tom Spence - Published: 1986 - Page: 40

Nature in the Balance - Author: Rob Marsh - Published: 1991 - Page: 21

Newmans Birds of Southern Africa - 1st Edition - Author: Ken Newman - Published: 1984 - Page: 168

Newmans Birds of Southern Africa - 7th Edition - Author: Ken Newman - Published: 2000 - Page: 168

Places to Visit in Southern Africa - Author: AA RSA - Published: 1995 - Page: 157

Illustrated Guide to the Game Parks and Nature Reserves of SA - 2nd edn - Author: Readers Digest - Published: 1991 - Page: 409

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: 58

Everyones Guide to South African Birds - Author: John Sinclair and John Mendelsohn - Published: 1987 - Page: 77

Eagles, Hawks & Falcons of the World - Author: Leslie Brown and Dean Amadon - Published: 1989 - Page: 672

Birds of Prey of Southern Africa - Author: Peter Steyn - Published: 1985 - Page: 59

Birds of Prey of the World - Author: Friedhelm Weick - Published: 1980 - Page: 126

Birds of Southern Africa - Kruger National Park - Author: Kenneth Newman - Published: 1985 - Page: 74

Birds of the Natal Drakensberg Park - Author: Robin Little and William Bainbridge - Published: 1992 - Page: 16

Birds of the South Western Cape - Author: Joy Frandsen - Published: 0 - Page: 52

Birds of the Transkei - Author: C.D. Quickelberge - Published: 1989 - Page: 40

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

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

Eagle Days - Author: Peter Steyn - Published: 1973 - Page: 1

Birds of Prey - A Kinship - Author: H. Von Michaelis - Published: 1987 - Page: 70

Bird Atlas of Natal - Author: Digby Cyrus and Nigel Robson - Published: 1980 - Page: 72

A First Guide to South African Birds - 6th Edition - Author: Leonard Gill - Published: 1959 - Page: 132

A First Guide to South African Birds - 7th Edition - Author: Leonard Gill - Published: 1975 - Page: 132

African Birds of Prey - Author: Leslie Brown - Published: 1970 - Page: 110

An Introduction to the Birds of Prey of South Africa - Author: D.V. Prout-Jones - Published: 1974 - Page: 12

An Introduction to the Birds of Prey of South Africa - Author: D.V. Prout-Jones - Published: 1974 - Page: 104

A Field Guide to the Birds of Southern Africa - 2nd Edition - Author: O.P.M. Prozesky - Published: 1983 - Page: 70

BirdLife South Africa


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