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African Hawk-eagle


African hawk-eagle [Aquila spilogaster]


The African Hawk-eagle is a medium sized bird that has a white chest and underside. The base of the tail feathers and the mid-section of the wings’ underside are also white in colour. The tips of the tail and the wings as well as the base of the wings and the top of its body are all black. It has black vertical stripes on its white chest. Immature African Hawk-eagles are much lighter than adults, with their colours being light brown and white.


The African Hawk-eagle hunts primarily using its feet. They sit on a high perch and spot their prey from up to a kilometer away. African Hawk-eagles’ diet contains mainly birds and game birds, which they usually flush out to catch. They often hunt in pairs, with one doing the flushing while the other one does the killing strike. They have also been known to feed on small mammals and reptiles.


During the breeding season the male will perform various calls and swoops and the female will then turn around and show her claws, as the male brings the female nuptial gifts. The Female will lay up to 2 eggs in a nest between April and August and incubate them for 43 days. Both the male and female are present in the raising and upbringing of the chicks.


African Hawk-eagles build their nests in high up areas like the canopies of trees and man-made structures like pylons. Their nests are generally large and are in the form of a large platform. Nests of African Hawk-eagles have been known to be used up to 60 years long. It has been known that the first hatched chick will crush and kill the second if there is not enough food available.

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