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Eagle: African Crowned Eagle

Identify and index birds in Southern Africa
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wildtuinman
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Eagle: African Crowned Eagle

Unread postby wildtuinman » Mon Jun 27, 2005 7:13 am

Seen near the Boesman's wilderness trail camp.

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Unread postby Johann » Fri Sep 09, 2005 11:45 am

Saw one in Feb 2004 on the S3 between Kruger and Phabeni gates. We were looking at some Vervets and the next moment they started going crazy. That's when we saw the Eagle coming in and landing in a tree nearby. The Vervets quickly disappeared but luckily we could spend some time on the Eagle. Fantastic bird!
Didn't have a camera then, so unfortunately no pics :(
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Unread postby Snoobab » Fri Sep 09, 2005 1:27 pm

In all my trips to Kruger i've only seen one and that believe it or not was on th S100.

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Unread postby wildtuinman » Tue Jan 03, 2006 11:35 am

This eagle, our strongest in SA can bring down prey up to 20kgs.
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Unread postby DuQues » Tue Jan 03, 2006 12:50 pm

African Crowned Eagle (Stephanoaetus coronatus)

Geographical Range:
Found only in Mozambique, most of Zimbabwe and north eastern and along the east coast of South Africa

Habitat:
Evergreen forests including riverine forests

Conservation Status:
Protected

Diet:
The Crowned Eagle is a carnivore that feeds on mammals 98% of the time. Sometimes the eagle may feed on a reptile such as Varanus lizards or large snakes, including venomous species.
The main prey of the Crowned Eagle, whose habitat is in dense forest areas, is the monkey. When they main prey of the Crowned Eagle is scarce the eagle will kill small mammals. (i.e. rats.)

Physical Description:
Crowned Eagles are very large, weighing about ± 3.8 Kg and about 80-90 cm tall. They are very powerful eagles that have a full divides crest. Their wings are short and rounded while the tail of the crowned eagle is very long and broad. They have a compressed bill. The crowned eagle has heavy legs and heavy, short toes with large talons.

Social Organization:
Social Organization of the crowned eagle is family groups. The family groups consist of the mother, father, and one or two children. They remain in the family group until the children are old enough to care for themselves

Special Adaptations:
The Crowned Eagle is very seldom seen inside the forest. Most of the time they perch on trees that overlook glades or water-holes. The normally perch in the early morning and evening so they can catch their prey off guard. Much of their time is devoted to soaring over the forest awaiting their prey, which is normally a monkey that is feeding on tree-tops. They hunt by dropping on their prey from a perch. The Crowned Eagle has the advantage of being able to fly silently to and from perches. Most of the Eagles killing is done on the ground, except for the monkey and hyrax. Killing on the ground for the Eagle gives it another advantage, because it has the ability to fly almost vertically to a branch.

Some more info:

About the bird. (Longer read)

Two WOW close-ups.
Arriving currently: The photos from our trip! Overhere! :yaya:

Feel free to use any of these additional letters to correct the spelling of words found in the above post: a-e-t-n-d-i-o-s-m-l-u-y-h-c

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Unread postby madach » Thu Jan 05, 2006 12:42 pm

Last November we had two separate sightings of one in the woodland between the two Luvuvhu bridges. I'll (try to) post some pics of it later this week.

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Unread postby Bush Baptist » Mon Feb 13, 2006 7:00 am

Only seen one. In 2001 in the forest area north east of Biyamiti towards the Croc Bridge - Lower Sabie tar road.
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Unread postby francoisd » Fri Mar 03, 2006 12:47 pm

Jose was the first to make us aware of this event in her post that can be found here, but this article points out the culprit to be a African Crowned Eagle.

Big bird named as child's killer ... three million years later
Jonathan Clayton, Johannesburg
January 14, 2006

THE African crowned eagle has been fingered for the murder two to three million years ago of arguably the most important human ancestor found.

The mystery of how the Taung child, Africa's first hominid discovery, met its end at age 3 1/2 has puzzled scientists for decades and could throw important new light on the theory of human evolution.

"This is the end of an 80-year-old murder mystery ... We have proved conclusively ... that the African crowned eagle was the killer," said Lee Berger, a US paleontologist.

The end of the mystery "gives us real insight into the past lives of these human ancestors", he said.

"It shows it was not only big cats, but also these creatures from the air - aerial bombardment if you will - that our ancestors had to be afraid of.

"These were the stressors ... that grew and shaped the human mind and formed our behaviour today."

The discovery in 1924 of the fossilised half-ape, half-man skull about 480km northwest of Johannesburg overturned the prevailing view that humans originated in Eurasia and focused the search for the "cradle of humanity" on Africa.

Announcing his verdict this week, Professor Berger, from Wits University in Johannesburg, said new evidence showed that the child was not killed by leopards or sabre-toothed cats, the previous suspects.

"This child was killed by a single blow of a 14cm-long talon into the brain," he told a press conference.

"It was later disembowelled. The eagle would have used its beak to eat out the eyes and the brain - some of the most nutritious parts - and created these marks."

The Taung child was discovered by British professor Raymond Dart.

He published a paper in Nature saying that the child - a specimen of the human ancestor species Australopithecus africanus - was the famed "missing link" between man and ape.

The bold claim was widely dismissed at the time, but subsequently other, older hominids - such as Lucy, believed to be more than three million years old - were found in the Great Rift Valley that snakes from South Africa through Kenya and Tanzania to Ethiopia.

Professor Berger and Ron Clarke, a fellow paleontologist, first mooted the theory 10 years ago that the killer was a predatory bird similar to today's African crowned eagle.

"We had one little flap of bone on the top of the skull that looked like some of the damage we see made by eagles and nothing else," Professor Berger said. "It was the ultimate two-million-year-old cold case."
The Times


(This piece was taken from The Australian. Similar reports can be found here and here
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Juvenile Crowned Eagle

Unread postby richardharris » Sat Mar 03, 2007 2:26 pm

I think this is a crowned eagle juvenile - I hope so since it will be the first I have seen in 20 years!

We spent quite a while watching and trying to identify - we decided there was nothing else it could be.

Taken at extreme range with the equivalent of a 700mm lens. The first picture shows the actual result - the others are cropped.

Image

Image Image

Richard

http://www.pbase.com/richardharris/february_2007&page=1
more photos and larger versions here
Last edited by richardharris on Sun Mar 04, 2007 2:03 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Unread postby richardharris » Sat Mar 03, 2007 5:29 pm

Sorry, I should have said.

This was taken on the Mahonie loop, not far from Punda going anticlockwise. Just after we were let out of the camp.

Richard

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Re: Please help

Unread postby Johann » Sat Mar 03, 2007 11:54 pm

richardharris wrote:I think this is a crowned eagle juvenile...


I would go with this. The only other bird this could really be confused with would be the juv Martial and that should show more colour (grey) to the head.

Nice sighting.
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Unread postby cybeR@NGER » Sun Mar 04, 2007 1:19 pm

Juv. African Crowned Eagle. Also, your bird has yellow feet as opposed to pale greenish white in juv. Martial.
Very nice sighting, Richard ! :thumbs_up:
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Unread postby Johann » Tue Mar 06, 2007 8:10 am

Ok, one of our birder friends, who has helped Francois and myself a few times with id queries send me the following answer on your bird RH. Looking at the points he mentions I have to agree with him 100% and change my answer :redface:

TG wrote:I see on the forum that there is a beautiful pale form of Wahlberg's Eagle which was misidentified as a juvenile Crowned Eagle.

Take note of the bird's small bill and the talons with smaller toenails. Juv Crowned has got a much heavier bill and massive nails, as well as blackish specks on the leg feathers. The photo's are a bit small and one can't see the tail pattern and eye colour perfectly. Juv Crowned has got distinct dark barring on the tail and light-coloured eyes. It does look on the picture if this bird has got dark eyes.

Sasol does not help much with the juv Crowned, it only shows the bird from the back and the sketch is a bit small...

[Translated from Afrikaans, so excuse any bad grammar]

As I also mentioned to him in reply to his mail, I never even considered the pale Wahlberg's and overlooked all the obvious signs. :redface: Better start bringing my raptor guides to work then, instead of leaving them at home and relying solely on my own memory and Sasol :wink:
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Unread postby francoisd » Tue Mar 06, 2007 9:15 am

My first (and last) Crowned Eagle seen in January in the Magoebaskloof area
Image
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Unread postby Johan van Rensburg » Thu Apr 05, 2007 8:02 pm

Added this one to my life list - spotted in an unmentionable location in the northern KZN

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