The Wildebeest's guide to South Africa

Martial Eagle

Afrikaans name: Breëkoparend

Magnificent Martial Eagle

Photo © Alta Oosthuizen - Fotolia.com

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

Wildlife of Southern Africa - Author: Martin Withers and David Hosking - Published: 2011 - Page: 62

The Birds of South Africa - 1st Edition - Author: Dr. Austin Roberts - Published: 1949 - Page: 56

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

Vanishing Eagles - Author: Philip Burton - Published: 1987 - Page: 121

Wild Issue 23 - Author: - Published: 2013 - Page: 12

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

Southern African Wildlife - Author: Readers Digest - Published: 1989 - Page: 152

Southern Africas Threatened Wildlife - Author: John Ledger - Published: 1990 - Page: 48

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

Southern African Bird Names Explained - Author: Charles Clinning - Published: 1989 - Page: 113

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

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

Roberts Birds of South Africa - 2nd edition - Author: McLachlan and Liversidge - Published: 1957 - Page: 75

Roberts Birds of South Africa - 3rd Edition - Author: McLachlan and Liversidge - Published: 1975 - Page: 95

Roberts Birds of South Africa - 4th Edition - Author: McLachlan and Liversidge - Published: 1981 - Page: 103

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

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

Sasol Birds of Prey of Africa and its Islands - Author: Alan and Meg Kemp - Published: 1998 - Page: 74

Know your Birds of Prey - Author: - Published: 0 - Page: 33

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

Birds of the Transkei - Author: C.D. Quickelberge - Published: 1989 - Page: 41

Birds of the Transvaal - Author: Tarboton, Kemp and Kemp - Published: 1987 - Page: 50

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

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

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

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

Game Ranger in your Backpack - Author: Megan Emmett and Sean Pattrick - Published: 2013 - Page: 158

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

Birds of Prey of the World - Author: Friedhelm Weick - Published: 1980 - Page: 118

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: 17

Birds of the South Western Cape - Author: Joy Frandsen - Published: 0 - Page: 54

African Birds of Prey - Author: Leslie Brown - Published: 1970 - Page: 112

African Wildlife - A photographic safari - Author: Nigel and Wendy Dennis - Published: 1999 - Page: 92

African Wildlife - International Edition - Vol 35 No 4 - Author: - Published: 1981 - Page: 37

An Introduction to the Birds of Prey of South Africa - Author: D.V. Prout-Jones - Published: 1974 - Page: 8

An Introduction to the Birds of Prey of South Africa - Author: D.V. Prout-Jones - Published: 1974 - Page: 106

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

Bird Atlas of Natal - Author: Digby Cyrus and Nigel Robson - Published: 1980 - Page: 76

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

A Field Guide to the Birds of Southern Africa - 2nd Edition - Author: O.P.M. Prozesky - Published: 1983 - Page: 71

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

A First Guide to South African Birds - 6th Edition - Author: Leonard Gill - Published: 1959 - Page: 131

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