Hawk-eagle and Bateleur
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African Hawk-Eagle L: 60–65 cm (24–26") |WS: 130–160 cm (51–63") A medium-sized, boldly patterned, black-and-white eagle . In flight, it holds its wings flat and adults show a unique pattern of brown-and-white underwings with a thick black trailing edge, and mostly white tail with a broad black terminal bar . However, immature birds have entirely rufous underparts, including the underwings (see page 179) . This is a fairly common resident in Kruger, where there is an estimated population of 350 pairs . Although it will eat other vertebrates, it is primarily a bird hunter, with francolins and guineafowls being favoured . Hawk-eagles often hunt in pairs, with one acting as a decoy or ‘flusher’ while the other strikes the victim; afterwards prey is shared . Hawk-eagle and Bateleur larger birds of prey in flight – pages 178–179 190 Bateleur L: 55–70 cm (22–28") |WS: 180–185 cm (71–73") This is a distinctive and colourful, very short-tailed eagle, although young birds are all-brown (see page 178) . Adults are mostly black with a chestnut mantle and tail, grey shoulders, and a bright red face and legs . In flight, the female has a thin black trailing edge to the white wings, whereas the male has a broad black edge . The long, pointed wings are raised in a distinct ‘V’ when gliding, and the birds waver from side to side in a fashion that makes them look unstable . The Bateleur is a common resident in Kruger, with some 400–600 pairs – accounting for 85% of the South African population . Although it does hunt, about 70% of the diet of the birds in Kruger is carrion . Because it flies low, it is capable of finding small items of carrion, and is watched carefully by other scavengers as it is often the first to locate a carcass . No bird illustrates the need for large conservation areas better than the Bateleur: it was once common across South Africa, but poisoning and persecution have resulted in it now being almost restricted to large protected areas . The Zulus believed that the Bateleur was the first bird created by God, and that it symbolized life itself. It was therefore traditionally revered and afforded much protection. EN BIRDS OF PREY AND VULTURES male female chestnut-backed morph female male white-backed morph 191 ...