Belonging to the genus Stephanoaetus, this eagle is a crowned eagle. It’s also known as African Crowned Eagle.
Crowned eagles are huge, and they are the 9th heaviest specie of eagles.
What will I learn?
- 1 Crowned Eagle Is The Most Thunderous Eagle Of Africa
- 1.1 1. Why Its Name Is Crowned Eagle?
- 1.2 2. Habitat And Distribution Of African Crowned Eagle:
- 1.3 3. Mating Behavior Of African Crowned Eagle:
- 1.4 4. Nesting Of Crowned Eagle:
- 1.5 5. Lifespan And Diet of Africa’s Powerful Eagle:
- 1.6 6. Physical Appearance Of Africa’s Powerful Eagle:
- 1.7 7. Crown Eagle Behavior:
- 1.8 8. Threats To African Crown Eagle Species:
- 1.9 9. Interesting Facts About Crowned Eagle:
- 2 Conclusion:
African tribesmen use the crown feathers of the crowned eagle as pieces of ornaments.
Crowned Eagle Is The Most Thunderous Eagle Of Africa
Crowned Eagle is considered as the most powerful, thunderous, violent, and vigorous eagle of Africa. Do check below if you want to know about this eagle.
1. Why Its Name Is Crowned Eagle?
The term crowned eagle is set because of its crown-like crest feathers.
The crest feathers of crowned eagle appear at the age of 2 months. And all the other feathers grow 76 days after hatching.
As the crown appears at an early age, it grows as the youngster grows into an adult.
The young eagle stars its wing-flapping exercises when it is 40-50 days old. The young eagle is ready to take its first flight when it is almost 4 months old.
Although the parents feed the young ones it keeps on practicing its hunting skills. According to records, the youngest crowned eagle was 61 days older when it did a hunt.
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2. Habitat And Distribution Of African Crowned Eagle:
Its habitats are in forests, grasslands, and mountains of Central and southeastern Africa.
They like to live in thicker woodlands especially the ones deep inside rainforests. In some cases, the crowned eagle also lives on abandoned cliffs and relict patches.
The lack of proper habitats has made the eagle’s range somewhat discontinuous.
Crowned eagle also lives in high densities according to reports. Because there is the availability of protected dense and old rainforests.
It can also live in quite open woods with Adansonia trees. Other habitats are forest ravines and riparian habitat along with the larger rivers.
Crowned Eagles live only in Africa. In western Africa, they live in Cameroon, Sierra Leone, Senegal, and The Gambia.
Crowned Eagles have occupied the Guinean forests over there. Although they have a wide distribution in these regions.
Crowned Eagles have become rare in many regions of Western Africa.
In the Eastern part of Africa, they inhabit a large range extending from Ethiopia to Uganda. The forests of Kenya and Tanzania are also their habitats.
In South Africa, they have populated both lowland and montane evergreen forests. Also, the gorges in open savanna and forested ravines are their habitats.
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3. Mating Behavior Of African Crowned Eagle:
Crowned eagles have a monogamous mating behavior and they mate for life. Their reproduction season is throughout the year but its peak is in July-November.
Like other eagles, the male of the crowned eagle displays a good courtship flight to attract a female. He flies high into the air and then dice and climb again and again.
At the top of every loop he makes, he flutters his wings, throws back his head. And also calls out loud for almost 30 seconds.
If a female joins him in his flight. Both of them lock their claws and dive toward the ground and let it go at the last second.
The male also displays at the nest by moving around the female. He does so by raising his wings. Breeding usually takes place between July and October.
4. Nesting Of Crowned Eagle:
Crowned Eagles make homes for a lifetime. The pair uses the same nest for years until a new pair inherits it.
After the breeding display, the pair constructs a massive nest together. They build their nest in the branch of an old large tree and it is 12-45m above the ground.
The male shows active involvement in nest construction. While the female brings more nesting material.
Crowned Eagles build the nest with sticks and twigs. It’s lined with fresh green branches.
African Crown Eagles keep on adding new material to the nest every year. Over the time this nest grows up to 8 feet across and 10 feet deep.
The female lays 1-2 white-colored eggs. And the incubation period lasts for 49 days.
The Female handles incubation while the male brings food to her every 3-5 days. Sometimes they swap their roles.
Both parents are good at protecting their young ones. If someone tries to approach the nest, the parents attack it with force.
If the female lays two eggs, the younger ones usually die. It either has to go through starvation due to competing with the older sibling or the sibling kills it.
The elder chicks usually eat all the bones in the prey. The juvenile’s first feathers appear in 40 days. After 40 days, the young one can feed itself.
The young ones fledge at the age of 90-115 days though it still stays with its parents for the next 11 months.
According to an estimation, the crowned eagle’s breeding age is 5 years old. As the juvenile of crowned eagle is dependent on its parents to feed him for so long.
The pair waits for another year to breed again. It means the pair raises only two chicks every year.
5. Lifespan And Diet of Africa’s Powerful Eagle:
Compared to many other birds, they are long-lived. But unlike bald eagles who have a lifespan of 20 years, they live for less time. Crowned eagles have a lifespan of up to 15 years.
These are carnivores and their basic diet consists of mammals. Their preys are small ungulates, rock hyrax, and monkeys.
Sometimes large lizards and small birds are also preferred to eat. Hunting is a big game for crowned eagles.
Having the title of the most powerful eagle in Africa, this bird can kill animals of up to 44 pounds.
Its long claw helps it to break the spine of prey. The method of hunting it adopts is to sit in a tree overlooking a clearing and then dropping onto the prey.
When this eagle hunts the monkey, it sits on a twig of a tree. It keeps a close eye on the troops of monkeys and hides before attacking.
Crowned eagles also feed on feral cats, mongooses, lizards, rats, and snakes. They also hunt in pairs.
When they do so, the male flies high call out loud to get the attention of prey. The Female slides away from the treetops and grasp the prey.
After preying, they like to eat it in a safe place like a tree. But if the prey is too heavy to carry, they tore it apart on the ground and take the pieces into the nest.
Crown Eagle also store food to eat for several days.
6. Physical Appearance Of Africa’s Powerful Eagle:
Crowned eagles claim the title of most powerful eagles of Africa. Adult crowned eagles have a dark-brown head and a reddish color in their breast with black bars.
Their long crest feathers have a white color on the tip. While its wings which are short and broad are black from the upper side and reddish underneath.
Long-tail of crowed eagle helps it by guiding the bird like a rudder guides a boat. These features help the eagle to hover amidst the branches.
Crowned eagles have thick legs and long strong claw on each of its toe. This claw helps it to hunt animals four sizes bigger than its own.
The juvenile crowned eagle looks very different from the adults. On its back, it has light grey-brown feathers.
While its wings are white-edged and it seems that the bird has scales on it. Its wing and tail feathers have grey colored bars and its head, breast and belly are white-colored.
After it becomes 3 years old, it changes its light colors into bright colors. It makes its appearance more striking.
7. Crown Eagle Behavior:
Crowned eagles usually inhabit a fixed territory for a long time and they live in pairs.
Crowned eagles are quite alert in their behavior. But their hunting techniques need them to be inactive for a very long time.
Crowned eagles spend this time sitting on the branch of a tree. They usually hunt in the morning and they hunt in pairs.
What they do before hunting is to locate a spot where they can listen to the sounds of prey. Or they observe the activity of prey from a far spot.
Crowned eagles also do habitual hunting perches where they before had hunting successes. But most of the time, they do still-hunting in which they drop all a sudden on to the prey.
These eagles’ call is very loud and they are famous for their cry.
The male call is higher-pitched as compared to females. Both adults and juveniles call each other when the parents bring food to the nest.
As they are noisy, they also show a wavy display flight. The male displays a rise-and-fall flight over the forest canopy.
They display these flights both during the breeding season. And also when they claim a territory.
Adult females of the crowned eagle also perform display flights. The female may perform often less and it has a mellower voice.
Sometimes they perform in pairs when they come together after a while.
Despite its spectacular display flights, sometimes it becomes clumsier in its flying behavior. Where it lacks grace in its flight.
Crowned eagles also nest in developed areas. Based on the availability of mature vegetation and abundant prey. They can carry out their nesting activities even in suburban areas.
8. Threats To African Crown Eagle Species:
Crowned eagles have a population of almost 5000-50,000 of adult individuals. This specie is near threatened on the IUCN Red List and its number is decreasing very fast.
The population is decreasing due to the destruction of the tropical African forest.
The threats to its endangerment increase over time due to the native forest’s destruction. The crowned eagle’s main habitat is rich, dense canopy forests.
The miners, farmers, timber companies, and agriculturists are targeting these forests.
Biofuel plantations are also leading to the decrease of its natural habitats. The crowned eagle is also sometimes shot down.
It is because of its size, reputation, and potential for taking small livestock. So it is either shot down or trapped. People also destroy their nests.
9. Interesting Facts About Crowned Eagle:
There are some facts about crowned eagles that might interest you.
The crowned eagle is Africa’s most powerful eagle according to the weight of its prey. It can kill prey which is almost 4 times bigger than itself.
Due to the shape of their wings, crowned eagles have a quiet flight like owls. They can keep a steady flight in the air for a long time.
The crowned eagle is the only surviving member of its genus.
Madagascar crowned hawk-eagle became extinct almost 1000 years ago. When humans moved to Madagascar they started hunting this species. That caused it to go extinct.
Crowned eagles are famous for their breathtaking displays.
The male of this specie during their display can reach heights exceeding 900m. Sometimes it can reach near the cloud almost 2000m above the ground.
Crowned eagle uses its powerful wings against the air currents to slow down after its flight.
This eagle can diver after its prey in the air at a speed of 100m per hour.
The name of Crowned Eagles is based on their crown-like feathers.
Male Crown Eagle shows a good flight to get the attention of females.
Crowned Eagles make a nest for a lifetime. They use it until their nestlings become adults.
The Average life of a Crowned Eagle is 15 years.
Deforestation and Climate change are the biggest reason for the decline in African Crowned Eagle Species.
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