Wahlberg’s Eagles

2017-09-12 06:01
Photo: Christine SmartBreeding pair - intermediate colouration on left and dark colouration on right.

Photo: Christine SmartBreeding pair - intermediate colouration on left and dark colouration on right.

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KRANTZKLOOF Nature Reserve is deservedly known as a haven for the African Crowned Eagle with at least four known nests and as permanent residents they are definitely the top raptors in the reserve.
Somewhat lesser know is that the reserve is also an important breeding site for the Wahlberg's Eagle and the reserve is the most southerly known nesting site for this species.

The magnificent Wahlberg Eagle is smaller than the Crowned Eagle and has a wingspan of between 1,3m to 1,5m compared to 1,5m to 1,7m for the Crowned Eagle.
It also has significant colour variations with three commonly known colours - dark, intermediate and a very pale, almost grey-white.

They are migrants and arrive in the gorge in August and depart in March when they head for warmer weather in the savannahs’ from Nigeria to Sudan.
A Wahlberg's tagged in the Kruger National Park took 42 days to return to its northern breeding site in Chad, flying north up the Great Rift Valley and crossing the Democratic Republic of Congo. 

They are monogamous, territorial solitary nesters, performing incredible aerial courtship displays in which both sexes undulate their flight.
They usually lay only one egg which is incubated mainly by the female.
Hatchlings are able to stand up and flap their wings after a month, can fly after about 70 days and have to “grow up” very quickly as they have to be ready to migrate by March or April.

They feed mainly on game birds and doves, but they will also take small mammals like the mongoose, rodents, snakes and other reptiles, frogs and insects.

The nest site in Krantzkloof Nature Reserve is not accessible to visitors, but the eagles can be frequently spotted in the vicinity of the main view site off Bridal Road or over the Watsonia Grasslands.
These eagles are named after Johan Wahlberg, a Swedish collector who worked in the Cape around 1838.
- Kloof Conservancy


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