Bateleur Eagle

(Tetrathopius ecaudatus)

FUN FACT

The word "bateleur" is French for "street performer."

Bateleur Eagles are a medium-sized eagle, weighing 1.8 - 2.9 kilograms (4 - 6.5 pounds) and having a wingspan of 168 - 190 centimeters (about 5 - 6 feet).  They're distinctive rocking flight and low, searching passes while hunting allow for wonderful viewing in the wild.

Bateleurs are uncommon among raptors in that males and females are physically very different from each other -- something known as "sexual dimorphism."  Both sexes are mainly black with a rusty chestnut back and ashy grey wing coverts, but females also have grey secondaries with a trailing black edge.  This makes it very easy to differentiate males from females, whether they are perching or in flight.

Bateleurs are primarily silent, except when threatened or anxious.  When they do call out, their voices can be loud and carrying.

Although Bateleur Eagles have a wide range throughout Africa, their population has been falling since the 1970s.  The primary cause of their decline is believed to be deliberate poisoning by large-scale commercial farms.  Conservation actions include awareness campaigns to reduce the use of poison baits, and continued monitoring throughout the Bateleur's native ranges.

Distribution

Southern Mauritania and Senegambia east to Sudan, Eritrea and Ethiopia; south to Namibia and South Africa.

Habitat

Open woodland and tree savanna.

Diet

Mainly small mammals and birds, but also reptiles and fish. Takes prey live, or dines on carrion.

Breeding

Will spend up to 5 weeks building a large nest 10-15 meters above the ground. Lays one egg, incubated by both sexes. Chicks hatch at 52-59 days, and may fledge anywhere from 92-194 days later. Young stay with parents for up to four months after fledging.

Status

Near Threatened

At the Aviary

Visit our Bateleur Eagles in Eagle Hall, just inside the West Entrance Giftshop.