Harriet Smith Photography


"For The Love of Africa"

AFRICAN SAFARIS - Trips Of A Lifetime


Country               South Africa
Provinces            Mpumalanga and Limpopo
Location:             Kruger National Park
Camp                   Skukuza Rest Camp

This perfectly timed picture shows every detail; feathers, body, talons, even one eyeball, of a Martial Eagle in flight set against a perfect blue sky.  The largest eagle in Africa, this bird spends much of its time on the wing, and is usually seen soaring about hill slopes, often at a very great height rendering it almost invisible to the naked eye.  The Martial Eagle reaches a length of 30–38 inches, weight of 6–14 pounds and a wingspan of 6-9 feet. It reaches adult plumage in its seventh year.

The Martial Eagle can be found in most of sub-Saharan Africa, wherever food is abundant and the environment favorable.  The this eagle will eat whatever is available, with a preference for game-birds and poultry. Their territory can vary greatly in size due to differences in food availability.

Nests are built invariably in trees, at any height from 20 to 80 feet above ground, growing on a steep hillside or in a gorge, where the bird has a clear sweep off the nest. Pairs have one or two nests, which are used in alternate years if more than one, but for successive breeding attempts if only one. Incubation of about 45 days is normally by the female. The young is very weak and feeble when first hatched, but becomes more active after about twenty days. At 3 days feathers show through the down, and completely cover the bird at 70 days. The young is fed by its parent until it is about 60 days old, makes its first flight at about 100 days, and may return to roost in the nest for some days before leaving.  It remains loosely attached to the nest site for some time, and may be seen not far from it for up to six months.

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