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 Post subject: Eagle, long-crested
Unread postPosted: Mon Mar 26, 2007 11:25 am 
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Legendary Virtual Ranger
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My first decent digiscope result I got on an extremely windy day when this bird sat patiently while I set up equipent and allowed me to snap away to heart's content. I got some amazing results. :lol:

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Unread postPosted: Thu Apr 05, 2007 7:35 pm 
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Long-crested Eagle, Lophaetus occipitalis

Physical characteristics:

The Long-crested Eagle is 53 - 58 cm in length and has a wingspan of 112 -129cm. Sexes of the Long-crested Eagle adult look alike. General colour is dark brown or black. The most distinctive feature of this eagle is its long, droopy crest usually held erect. It has long white patches at the joint of the wings, visible when it perches, forming white lines on each side of the breast. Underwing coverts are white, with black spots. It has a broad dark tail strongly barred pale grey with a broad dark terminal band. Leggings are whitish. Hooked bill is yellow with dark tip. Eyes are rich golden yellow. Feet are yellow with slender talons.

Immature birds are similar to adults, but browner. Wing coverts and neck feathers show white tips. Crest is less prominent. Eyes and feet are duller.

The Long-crested Eagle is considered to have a shorter lifespan than other similarly sized eagles, with its longevity set around 15 years.

Distribution and habitat:

The Long-crested Eagle is largely sedentary, and lives in woodlands or cultivated areas, and open lands with trees. It can be found in moist savannahs and in cleared forest areas and forest edges adjacent to grasslands, marshes or rivers from sea level to 2300 metres elevation, except in arid zones. This eagle lives in Africa south of the Sahara, from Senegal to Ethiopia, and southward to the Cape. In South Africa its major concentrations are along the escarpments of Mpumalanga and the Limpopo provinces and the Natal midlands.

Behaviour:

It rests during the day under the shadow of a tall tree. It is often conspicuously perched on trees, fences or telegraph poles on the side of roads. Pairs usually have regular areas where they can be seen day after day.

Long-crested eagle is a noisy bird, as well on perch as flying, especially at the beginning of the breeding season when it calls loudly from perches around the nest site. It utters loud and sharp calls during display. A variety of calls are used to announce its arrival at the nest to relieve the brooding partner or when about to feed the chicks.

Diet:

It is an all-embracing feeder with particular preference for rodents and will take animals up to the size of a fully grown cane rat (about 1 kg in weight). It also will occasionally eat birds, reptiles, amphibians, crabs, fish and insects down to the size of termites. Long-crested eagles have been observed to eat some wild fruit too.

Hunting technique:

This eagle is mostly a perch-hunter. It hunts generally in the early morning or at dusk over a fairly small area, dropping from an exposed perch on its prey to catch it, with an estimated 40 percent success rate. Infrequently hunts other birds on-the-wing, attacking from above.

Breeding and nesting:

Long-crested eagle's nest is often located in a river valley with large trees. Nest is built at height of 7 to 20 metres in a large tree, such as wild fig or eucalyptus. The nest is made with small sticks. A deep central cup is lined with green leaves. Nest is normally sited in the middle of the tree, well protected from the sun, in a fork or on a lateral branch. These eagles are monogamous and territorial breeders. The nest is built and repaired by both adults, and it is used year after year, up to five years consecutively.

The female lays one or two dull white eggs, spotted with brown and grey, any time year-round. Eggs may be laid as much as two weeks apart.

During incubation period, female is fed by the male, near the nest. But she leaves the nest to hunt herself sometimes. The male stays near the nest, roosting in the same tree or close by. Incubation lasts about 42 days

In the first weeks after hatching, female remains or on near the nest while male brings food. After three weeks, female hunts more than male. The young reaches its plumage at about 28 days, and remains around the nest from 40 to 50 days. It performs its first flight at about 55 days. Then, it moves rapidly away from the site. It is fed by both parents another two weeks.

This species produces one single brood per year, occasionally two chicks are reared. Little sibling aggression has been reported, in spite of huge differences in size. Over a 10-year period a pair may successfully raise 7 chicks. Factors contributing to brooding failure are strong winds damaging the nest or fatally injuring the chicks, nest abandonment due to tree-felling operations and predation of the nest by other animals. A pair often relays after a brooding failure.

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Unread postPosted: Wed Apr 11, 2007 11:47 pm 
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I've seen them alongside the road in Schoeman's kloof in Mpumalanga as well as in the East london area sitting on pilons.


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Unread postPosted: Sat Dec 08, 2007 4:09 pm 
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Another poor quality photo. This shot where taken 10sep 2007 at Olifants rest Camp from the viewing platform. There where two of these raptors soaring above the river system. Fortunately I had my Swarovski field scope available so I got to study them for 5-6 minutes before they disappeared out of reasonable viewing sight. I can add that both birds had white wing panels on the under wings as well. The underside of the tail showed a blackish/dark end of tail feathers, and as fare as I can recall the tale where roughly stripped. Are there any other options than Long Crested Eagle for this pair of raptors??????

Your comments are always welcome. Thanks :D

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Unread postPosted: Sun Dec 09, 2007 5:44 pm 
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BT wrote:
Are there any other options than Long Crested Eagle for this pair of raptors??????


Nope! This is none other than a Long-crested Eagle, not a bad bird at all for Olifants.

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Unread postPosted: Thu Dec 13, 2007 11:01 pm 
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mountainview wrote:

BTW I do agree with deefstes on your ID of Long-Crested Eagle and not AHE, again simply on one feature - if it was AHE you would see the white under the chin running down to the breast [It would be so clear especially at that angle]. And since you did see that one you should be aware that you did/did not see it?


The lack of clear white on the chin and breast of the bird is the result of the underside being in the shadow of the wings and body. Moreover, taking a pic of a dark bird against the sky will result in a darker subject. I am sure by increasing the exposure of the pic some white will become visible on the underside. Just have a look at one of the pics of AHE by Warwick Tarboton on his website: http://www.warwicktarboton.co.za/birdpgs/137AHEgl.html

Except for the apparent lack of white on the underside all other features of the bird indicate AHE. Long-crested Eagles never show white spots on the wing coverts and back, and also have a distinct yellow cere and gape. The upper secondaries of LCE are also much darker and the wings are broader and rounder than AHE.

LCE is a rare vagrant to Kruger and it would be very unusual to see a pair of these birds.

TG


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Unread postPosted: Sat Dec 15, 2007 7:36 pm 
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The picture posted by BT is not so bad as it is certainly good enough to eliminate all debate regarding the ID for this raptor. It has two ID features that can be clearly seen and needs no manipulation to make it stand out - 1st, the barring on the tail: the pix clearly shows five to six fine bars above the narrowish terminal bar - AHE! (LCE has a broader terminal bar followed by three bold bars); 2nd, the scattered white spotting on the back - AHE! (LCE has no white spotting on its back).

Image

I am not sure that BT's pix contain enough digital data to make a call based on cere and gape, but it is certainly true that there is a marked difference between the two species in this regard. (Compare with Tarboton AHE).

Lastly, I am loath to eliminate LCE on distribution maps and patterns - the number of “sightings” mapped in Roberts VII suggests that LCE is not all that rare around Olifants; certainly not in the southern parts of KNP. However, based on BT's pix alone, there is no doubt in my mind that this is an AHE.

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Unread postPosted: Mon Jul 07, 2008 5:12 pm 
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wildtuinman wrote:
I've seen them alongside the road in Schoeman's kloof in Mpumalanga as well as in the East london area sitting on pilons.
Quote:
I saw a Crested Eagle about one kilometer north of the game reserve in Krugersdorp today. can anybody tell me if this is unusual


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Unread postPosted: Tue Jul 08, 2008 8:02 am 
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Andre du Plessis wrote:
I saw a Crested Eagle about one kilometer north of the game reserve in Krugersdorp today. can anybody tell me if this is unusual

Hi Andre and welcome to the forum! Although Roberts birding software doesn't list Long-crested Eagle for the Krugersdorp GS, I don't think it very unusual. Gauteng falls in their distribution range and they are resident around the Northern Farm in Joburg. Nice sighting and cool bird for the GP list, though! 8)


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Unread postPosted: Tue Jul 08, 2008 9:53 am 
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I looked through my various bird guides and a raptor guide of Southern Africa shows that it might be present in Gauteng more than what we like to believe.

I know that they have been seen in the Rooiwal area just outside Pretoria on a few occasions.

But I agree with JoelR, definitely not a common sighting in Gauteng, especially not Krugersdorp and you can count yourself very lucky! :clap:

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Unread postPosted: Thu Jul 17, 2008 4:54 pm 
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We always have a contest as to who can spot the first Long-creasted Eagle as we travel up the North KZN coast, en route to Kruger. :D
They mostly perch on the telephone poles or wires often around the big pine plantations.

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Unread postPosted: Fri Jul 18, 2008 6:22 am 
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Saw a very nice one between Hazyview and Witrivier on Saturday. It was the closest to Kruger I've seen it.

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Unread postPosted: Tue Jul 29, 2008 3:31 pm 
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Hi Wtm
Quote:
It was the closest to Kruger I've seen it.


We saw this eagle on the Biyamiti private road, close to the weir, in April. Is it not a long crested eagle ?

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Unread postPosted: Tue Jul 29, 2008 3:38 pm 
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Certainly looks like one. And a male to boot with the white legs. Females' legs are usually brown or dirty white (speckled with brown) Nice sighting.
My closest to KNP was the one we saw in Hazyview last week.

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Unread postPosted: Tue Jul 29, 2008 4:13 pm 
With the Bananarama trip, we saw one on the S25 ….so P@M, they are definitely in the area. 8)
I have also had a couple of sightings on the N4 between Komatipoort and the Nkomazi toll gate…. :wink:

@JvR...stunning photo!! :clap:


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