Martial eagle belongs to the category of the largest eagles in the world.
From its name, the thought of a powerful, brave, and wild creature comes to mind.
What will I learn?
- 1 Martial Eagle – Mating, Diet, Facts And More
- 1.1 1. Distribution Of Martial Eagle:
- 1.2 2. Mating Of Martial Eagles:
- 1.3 3. Nesting Of Martial Eagles:
- 1.4 4. Life Span And Diet Of Martial Eagle:
- 1.5 5. Identification of Martial Eagles:
- 1.6 6. Behaviour Of Martial Eagle:
- 1.7 7. Threats to Martial Eagles:
- 1.8 8. Why Martial Eagle in the Red List category.
- 1.9 9. Interesting Facts Of Martial Eagle:
- 2 Conclusion:
Martial Eagle eagle is native to Sub-Saharan Africa. It’s the one and the only member of the genus Polemaetus.
Martial Eagle – Mating, Diet, Facts And More
Here we are going to discuss the lifestyle of Martial Eagle. Do check below there are amazing facts revealed in this article.
1. Distribution Of Martial Eagle:
Martial eagle inhabits almost the whole of Sub-Saharan Africa.
It founds to be living in those areas where there are a favourable environment and abundant food.
In Southern Africa, these birds inhabit the more open areas.
Like semi-desert and open savannah with scattered trees are their most favourable habitats. Forested hills, steppes, and other entrances also fall into this category.
Martial eagles avoid closed-canopy forests and hyper-arid deserts.
Guinea-Congolian forests have plenty of large trees which eagles use for nesting purposes. But for some reason, martial eagles do not inhabit these places.
In Karoo of South Africa, it avoids areas with massive cultivation and winter rainfall.
The preferable environment is open tree formations, edges of woods, and savannahs. It usually prefers the undisturbed places and conservation areas.
They prefer to live in desolate and protected areas. But sometimes it is also found in open plains. Sometimes it also breeds in forests on the edge of a free country.
A large number of its population inhabits the southern parts of the continent.
A large amount of its population inhabits the Kruger National Park. Kgalagadi Transfrontier National park is also known for having martial eagles.
Etosha National Park in Namibia is another home to this bird.
In some rare cases, they can go up to an elevation of 9800ft. But, it’s not a mountain resident specie, and inhabitant eagles do not exceed an altitude of 4900 ft.
2. Mating Of Martial Eagles:
Martial eagles live in monogamous pairs for their whole life.
These eagles have no aerial stunts in their mating process. Their display consists of both members performing a circling skill.
Martial Eagles also call out loud over the area of the nest. During their mutual circling, the female may turn and present talons.
Sometimes male alone circles above its territory in a gentle and tame manner.
The time of their breeding season varies in different regions. In some areas, it begins in the wet season or early dry season.
While in some areas, it starts late in the dry season and some parts of the cycle must extend to the rainy seasons.
These Eagles breed in several months in different parts of their range.
Martial Eagles reproduce in November-April in Senegal. Mating takes place in January-June in Sudan. And in northeast Africa, it happens in August-June.
Martial eagles have an incubation period of about 45 days.
The female handles the incubation, and the male also supports her. But the female has to leave the nest to find food because the male does not feed her.
The young eagle is very weak when the egg hatches. But it becomes healthy and active after 20 days.
The feathers start showing after 32 days and completely cover the bird at 70 days.
The parents feed the young eaglet until it is 60 days old and can tear prey itself.
During the early fledgeling days, the mother eagle remains near the nest.
At the same time, the male hunts and brings the victim.
Female receives the quest from the male for about 50 days. After 50 days, the male doesn’t appear near the nest and the female hunts for herself.
3. Nesting Of Martial Eagles:
After the completion of the mating process, the pair builds their nest in the main fork of a tree.
Martial Eagles usually erect their nest 6-20 m above the ground.
There are records of rare cases where they have built nests 5-70m above the land that is at the top of the tree.
Martial eagles choose trees for their nests on rocky slopes, valleys, or hilltops. Sometimes they choose to build a nest inside a cave.
The pairs of martial eagles may have one or two nests that they use on an alternative basis.
The nests are enormous structures made of twigs and lined with green leaves.
Nests are basin-shaped in the beginning and are six feet across and up to four feet thick.
A succession of birds may use the same nest for many years.
4. Life Span And Diet Of Martial Eagle:
Martial eagles have a lifespan of around 12-14 years. They have a birth interval of 1-3 years. Martial eagles reach sexual maturity when they are 5-6 years old.
Martial eagles are carnivores and opportunistic predators. To a great extent, they prey on birds, mammals, and reptiles.
Martial Eagle eats whatever is available, so the population of given prey handles its dietary habits.
According to an estimation, 45% of other birds account for martial eagles’ diet. These birds include landfill, lincoln’s, guinea fowl, bustards, and Egyptian goose.
Martial eagles also feed on reptiles like snakes and lizards.
These eagles even feed on Cape cobra, Green mamba, Puff adders, and boomslangs.
Martial eagles also eat some small Black mamba and African rock pythons.
In some of the regions, martial eagle preys upon mammals. These mammals make up a large part of their diet, and it includes hyraxes, mongooses, rats, and rodents.
Martial eagles also hunt for larger prey like caracals, black-backed jackals, and servals. Very often, they feed on small antelopes and young impalas.
Some dangerous animals like venomous snakes and wild cats also fell prey to this bird.
5. Identification of Martial Eagles:
The martial eagle is one of the largest eagles in the world. Its body length ranges from 78-96 cm, and it weighs from 3-6 kg.
Its wingspan is almost 260 cm, more significant than that of Golden Eagle.
The adult eagle has dark brown colour on the upperparts of plumage.
The head and chest are also of the same color. These feathers have a lighter color on edges.
Depending on the light, the dark feathers can look as grey, blackish, or plum-coloured.
The crown formed with many feathers is hardly noticeable. Because a strong, splendid beak overshadows it.
The underparts of the body are white-colored, and they have black or brownish speckles on them. Their wings have brown bases with lined remiges.
The eyes of adult martial eagles are vibrant yellow. Their large feet and beaks are pale green while the sharp and large nails are black.
Martial eagles are famous for having dense feathers and long-bulky legs.
Females of martial eagles are larger and more colorful than males.
Juveniles have dark brown eyes, and the wing coverts have grey-brown and white spots. Their wings have patterns of lines on primaries.
The tail is like adults, but it’s a bit lighter grey.
Juveniles have a distinct plumage with pearly-grey colour above.
The edging of the feather is white-coloured. Their crowns and nape of the neck have a spotted grey effect.
The underside is bright white. An adolescent martial eagles need almost seven years to develop adult colouration.
6. Behaviour Of Martial Eagle:
Martial eagles spend 85% of their day perched and take to their wings in the late morning. They are always on their wings at a great height.
Thermal availability directs this behaviour, and it drops off from around 3 pm. Thus martial eagles are opportunistic perch and ambush hunters.
Martial eagles will glide upwards for hours without hunting. But it can hunt during the glide also. They kill their prey from a long slanting stoop, and the angel of wings controls the speed of descent.
Sometimes they hunt from a resting speed, but it’s so rare. And most of its prey gets a shock in the wide-open areas by the speed of its attack from a distance.
Martial eagles usually hunt in a long and shallow stoop. But when they see prey in an enclosed space, they prefer flying down at a steeper angle.
Martial eagles can spot their prey from 3-5 km away. Martial eagles also hunt from a concealed vegetation near watering holes.
If the first attempt fails, they may swoop around to attempt again. This second attempt happens especially when the intended victim is not dangerous.
Martial eagles hunt for several days in the same area until they consume all the prey resources. Then they move to another area.
Martial eagles like to live in undisturbed areas.
It is because of the larger availability of prey selection in such areas. And also because these birds are shy and try to avoid humans. But sometimes they pass from overpopulated countries.
These eagles are also solitary during their breeding season. And they are not known to tolerate others of their species in the area outside of the pair.
This powerful bird is often quiet. But when martial eagles are near the nest or excited, they produce a high-pitched “hluee-oh.”
It also utters a display call on a wing or from a perch, a clear series of “kluee-kluee.” When they see the food, they utter a “kip” or a gulping “quolp.” But this bird is not so noisy.
7. Threats to Martial Eagles:
The major population threats martial eagles have to face are habit loss and hunting.
Since these eagles hunt domestic animals, farmers shoot them down. Farmers often poison or shot them down because they see these eagles as a major threat to livestock.
When they come into contact with humans, they are allegedly shot down or poisoned.
The perception has become common in that martial eagles hunt livestock. While in reality, livestock makes up only a small part of the species’ diet.
Collisions with power lines have been a major reason causing an increase in the decline rate. This is a common problem for immature martial eagles because these are not self-assured fliers.
Martial eagles reportedly drown in steep-sided farm reservoirs in South Africa.
A 20% decline in the population of these eagles occurred in recent generations due to mishaps.
Habitat and prey reduction outside the protected areas is another major threat. This specie is becoming scarce due to its low reproductive rate and need for territories.
Martial eagles are mistaken as stock-killers. They do not disdain carrion and some birds, especially the ones which are immature.
A study also proves that only 8% of their diet consists of domestic livestock.
76% of martial eagles that got killed were immature. Immature martial eagles are vulnerable to come to livestock as a source of food.
The presence of birds is a sign of a healthy environment. So there is a need to control the decline in the population of the martial eagle.
The conservation of this bird depends only on educating farmers and the local public.
There is also a need to increase protected areas. So that martial eagles can hunt and nest without any disturbance.
8. Why Martial Eagle in the Red List category.
On the IUCN Red List, the martial eagle is Vulnerable. Because its number is declining from the past three generations, this decline is because of incidental or intentional poisoning.
Habitat loss, reduction of prey, and collision with power lines are potential threats.
Future information on its large range may lead to its listing as Endangered in the future.
9. Interesting Facts Of Martial Eagle:
The martial eagle is one of the largest eagles of Africa and the fifth heaviest eagle in the world.
The martial eagle is strong enough to tackle an adult human.
The local name of a martial eagle in South Africa is “lammervanger,” which means “lamb catcher.”
Due to its efficiency as a predator and its underside spotting, its nicknamed as “the leopard of the air.”
Martial eagles have very sharp eyesight, which is four times stronger than that of a human.
The scientific and regional African names of this species mean “war-like.” It represents the force, brashness, and indefatigable nature of their hunting habits.
The hunting technique which martial eagles use is unique. They hunt from a high soar by stooping on their quarry.
According to observations, martial eagles also build nests on transmitting towers.
Comparing to other eagles of Africa, martial eagles are more often observed flying.
Martial eagles also hunt for Kori Bustards. These are the largest flying birds of the present time.
Martial Eagles are one of the largest eagles in the world. They are also known as “lamb catcher” and ‘Lion of the air” in some areas.
Mostly Martial Eagles are found in Africa and they mate once in a year. They use the same nest for many years.
Martial Eagles like to eat the medium or large size of insects, birds, and mammals.
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