The most majestic African eagles

African Hawk-Eagle

Aquila fasciatus

  • White unspotted thighs.
  • In flight the underwing is primarily white, and the upperwing is dark brown with characteristic white panels at the base of the primaries.
  • Female larger than male and more heavily streaked in front.
  • Juvenile has the underwing coverts and underbody pale rufous; darkens with age.
  • Habitat: Woodland and savanna.
  • Call: Musical ‘klee-klee-klee’ (whatever it means ;)).

African Fish-Eagle

Haliaeetus vocifer

Symbolizes Africa rather majestically! 🙂 For more details, refer to my “Safari Bird Species” article. 😉

African Crowned Eagle

Stephanoaetus coronatus

  • Large size and hawk-like appearance.
  • Dark grey above, and rufous below; breast and belly heavily mottled in black.
  • Well-rounded wings and a long barred tail when in flight.

  • Habitat: Evergreen and riverine gallery forest.
  • Call: Extremely vocal “kiwi supporter” :): ringing ‘kewee-kewee-kewee‘.


Terathopius ecaudatus

My favourite African eagle species out of them all. 🙂

  • Black, white and chestnut plumage.
  • Diagnostic wing shape and very short tail.
  • Long wings held slightly angled upwards; rarely flapping when in flight motion.
  • Male has a broad black trailing edge to the wing, whereas the female’s edge is narrow.

Male specimen (broad black trailing)!

  • Immature individuals are brown.
  • Habitat: Savanna.
  • Call: Loud bark, ‘kow-wah‘.

Verreaux’s Eagle

Aquila verreauxii

  • Also known as the “Black Eagle”.
  • Unmistakable: in flight the wings are narrow at the base and broadening in the middle.
  • White rump and back markings contrasting with the black plumage.

  • Habitat: Mountainous regions with cliffs and crevices. Feeds primarily on rock hyraxes.
  • Call: Melodious ‘keee-uup‘.

Martial Eagle

Polemaetus bellicosus

  • Dark head, throat and upper breast + white, lightly spotted breast and belly and very dark underwings.
  • Resembles the black-chested Snake-Eagle from below.
  • Habitat: Variety of different habitats, from deserts to forests and savannas.
  • Call: a rapid ‘klooee-klooee-klooee‘ in display.

Long-Crested Eagle

Lophaetus occipitalis

  • Dull black plumage and long, wispy crest.
  • Conspicuous white bases to the primaries when in flight + black & white barred tail.
  • Male has white leggings, and a longer crest than the female.
  • Female’s leggings are mottled brown/brown-and-white.
  • Habitat: Wooded areas and marshy forest edges.
  • Call: High-pitched ‘kee-ah‘ during display or when perched.

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4 Responses to The most majestic African eagles

  1. Barry Thorley October 4, 2011 at 6:48 pm #

    Ever seen an eagle catching termites in flight then eating them from their talons whilst still in flight? I saw that today and was, to say the least, somewhat surprised! There was not just one, but probably about a dozen (or more). A very impressive site to behold!

    • Africafreak October 5, 2011 at 9:19 am #

      Wow, sounds like an amazing sight indeed! 🙂 Did you get a chance to capture the scene with your camera? Would’ve loved to see this…

      Thanks for sharing Barry! 😉

  2. johan February 26, 2010 at 7:23 am #

    Hi Michael,

    Most interesting thing I ever saw was a Martial Eagle falling from the sky, knocking down a Helmeted Guine Fowl, picking it up in its talons and flying away with it.
    A truly magnificent bird!

    • africafreak February 26, 2010 at 11:14 am #

      Wow, what a sight it must've been! Did you manage to record it on camera? If so you must share it with us… 😉

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