Long-Crested Eagle


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Scientific Name:

  • Lophaetus occipitalis.


  • Sub-Saharan Africa from Senegal and Gambia eastwards to Ethiopia and south to the Eastern Cape; in South Africa, northern Namibia and northern Botswana.


  • Forest edges and moist woodland, particularly if that habitat is near to grassland, marsh, a river or a stream. Can also be found in drier woodland, mixed farmland, grazing land, the edges of sugar-cane plantations and orchards. Long-crested eagles will also use exotic plantations such as those of pine or eucalyptus. They range in altitude from sea level to 9,800 ft., but it is unusual to find them above 6,600 ft.


  • Small mammals caught on the ground; lizards and small snakes; small rodents and occasionally young poultry.


  • Nests in large, leafy trees; build large stick nests, the deep central cup lined with green leaves; lay 1-2 eggs; dull white with cloudy brown, gray, and lilac marks; only the female incubates; fully feathered at 28 days; fledge at 55 days; parents feed for 2 weeks after it leaves the nest; generally only 1 chick survives; does most of its hunting from a tree or telegraph pole during the early morning and dusk hours.


  • Small for an eagle; very dark brown or black body; white patches at thewing joints; long, broad wings with white underwing coverts spotted with black; broad tail with a white base; grayish white tarsi; fully feathered legs with slender talons; long crest; golden to reddish brown eyes; yellow cere and feet.
  • Male and female look similar, female is slightly larger.
  • Call is a loud clear ringing: keeee-eh: or “keeee-ee-af, kik-kik-kik-kik-keeee”; calls frequently.
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Fan, Friend, Sponsor