Tuesday 21 May
Long-crested eagle (Lophaetus occipitalis)
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Long-crested eagle fact file
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Long-crested eagle description
The remarkably long, feathered crest possessed by the aptly named long-crested eagle, is this unmistakeable bird of prey’s most striking feature (2) (4) (5). It is a relatively small eagle with dark brown to black plumage, long, white feathered legs, and a well barred tail (4) (5). With the broad, rounded wings spread in flight, patches of white are conspicuous at the base of the primaries (2). Although larger and heavier than the male, the female usually has a slightly shorter crest and often has dirty white to brown legs (2) (4). The juvenile is very similar to the adult but tends to have lighter plumage and, like the female, a shorter crest (4).
- Aigle huppé.
Long-crested eagle biology
The long-crested eagle feeds almost entirely on small rodents, but will also occasionally take small birds, lizards, arthropods, fish and fruit (2) (4). Spending extended periods on a prominent perch, it scans the ground below, swooping down sporadically on exposed prey (2) (6).
Although predominately sedentary, long-crested eagles are known be somewhat nomadic in regions that experience significant seasonal variation in rainfall (6). Breeding generally takes place during the wet season, but timing is fairly erratic and probably coincides with fluctuations in rodent populations (2) (6). One to two eggs are incubated in a stick nest, built in an upper fork of a tall tree, on the edge of a forest or woodland. The downy chicks hatch after around 42 days and usually fledge after another 53 to 58 days (2).Top
Long-crested eagle rangeTop
Long-crested eagle habitat
An inhabitant of the edges of all types of forest and woodland, the long-crested eagle is particularly common near marshes, wetlands and rivers. It will also occupy modified habitats, where there are trees suitable for nesting and perching, such as eucalypt and pine plantations (2) (6).Top
Long-crested eagle statusTop
Long-crested eagle threats
The long crested-eagle is common and widespread and consequently is classified as Least Concern on the IUCN Red List (2) (6) (7). Although this species is somewhat vulnerable to degradation of woodlands and wetlands, it has benefited from the creation of agricultural clearings and exotic plantations (2) (6).Top
Long-crested eagle conservation
There are no known conservation measures in place for the long-crested eagle but it almost certainly occurs in numerous protected areas across its range (8).Top
Find out more
For further information on the long-crested eagle and other birds of prey see:
- The Global Raptor Information Network:
For more information on this and other bird species please see:
- BirdLife International:
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- A very diverse phylum (a major grouping of animals) that includes crustaceans, insects and arachnids. All arthropods have paired jointed limbs and a hard external skeleton (exoskeleton).
- The act of keeping eggs warm so that development is possible.
- In birds, the main flight feathers projecting along the outer edge of the wing.
- IUCN Red List (January, 2009)
- Del Hoyo, J., Elliott, A. and Sargatal, J. (1994) Handbook of the Birds of the World. Vol. 2: New World Vultures to Guineafowl. Lynx Edicions, Barcelona.
- CITES (January, 2009)
- Ferguson-Lees, J. and Christie, D.A. (2001) Raptors of the World. Christopher Helm, London.
- Sinclair, I. and Davidson, I. (2006) Southern African Birds: A Photographic Guide. Struik Publishers, Cape Town.
- Global Raptor Information Network (January, 2009)
- BirdLife International (January, 2009)
- World Database on Protected Areas (January, 2009)
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