African Hawk Eagle (Aquila spilogaster) - African Wildlife and Nature Photographs

African Hawk Eagle

Family: Accipitridae

Genus: Aquila

The African hawk-Eagle (Aquila spilogaster) is a medium sized Eagle of the African continent, they can be found above and below the equator. Standing about 65cm (25.5in) with a wingspan of about 1.6m (63in) and weighing in at around 1.75kg (3.8lbs) for the female, the male African hawk-Eagle is slightly smaller, thus the species is showing some sexual dimorphism.

African Hawk Eagles have black upper parts, black flight feathers, and a black tail. Their under tail is white and has thin bars with a thick black terminal band and trailing edge. The neck is white with dark stripes along the breast and flanks. The African hawk-Eagle has a black beak with a light-coloured cere. Their head and crown are also black and like a true eagle they have full 'feathered' legs which are white. The heavier female African hawk-Eagles are also more heavily streaked than their male counterparts.

African hawk-Eagles occur on Africa's savannah, open woodland and areas where their are rocky cliffs, feeding off large birds such as Helmeted Guineafowl (Numida meleagris) and Swainson's Spurfowl (Pternistis swainsonii) and other similiar types of Francolin, along with reptiles and small mammals. Occasionally African hawk- eagles will hunt in pairs, with one eagle flushing out the prey while the other makes the kill.

Made of sticks, bowl-shaped and around 1 meter wide, African hawk-Eagle nests are usually located in the fork of a high tree along a wooded river bank. The female lays 1-2 eggs during October-March if north of the equator and April-January in southern regions. Incubation takes around 44 days, the eggs are incubated by both parents. Only the one chick is cared for if multiple eggs hatch, due to siblicide (also known as Cainism, where the older chick kills the younger). The young leave the nest after around 73 days and are fully independent around three months after that.

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