Friday, September 2, 2011

The Eagle Landed

A soaring Fish eagle is beautiful to behold & the experience is even more "magic" when this raptor calls out in flight - a sound typically associated with Africa.

Also called the African fish eagle, this bird tends to hunt from a perch, catching fish with its feet without checking its flight. Its prey/fish tend to weigh between 1 & 3kg.

Other than catching fish, this eagle also robs other fish-eating birds of their prey or raids other waterbirds of their young as well as their eggs. The African fish eagle is usually found in pairs.

Another magnificently soaring raptor is the Brown snake eagle - found mostly in the northern & eastern parts of our country, where it's status is mostly known as an uncommon resident.

The Brown snake eagle is usually solitary & tends to fly from one hunting perch to another. As its name indicates, this bird feeds mainly on snakes, which it kills & swallows whilst on the ground. As this photo "proves", this eagle is said to have an owl-like face.

In flight a Bateleur (eagle) is easy to identify by its mainly white underwings & up-swept wingtips, other than its characteristic, circling but seldom flapping, flight pattern, whilst it also looks almost tailless. This bird occurs mainly in the Lowveld part of our country, e.g. often soaring high in the Kruger National Park.

In contrast to other raptors, which are the most difficult birds to identify (especially when immature), an adult Bateleur can hardly be mistaken for another eagle, because it "sports" red legs/feet & a (mostly) red cere (= beak). Its food varies from insects, fish, reptiles, other birds, small mammals to carrion. It also tends to rob other eagles and vultures of food.

No comments: