Bateleur

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Image:Bateleur.jpg

Common Name: Bateleur
Scientific Name: Terathopius ecaudatus

Size: 22-28 inches (55-70 cm); Wingspan: 73 inches (186 cm)

Habitat: Africa and the Middle East; it has extensive range across much of sub-Saharan Africa (from southern Mauritania, Senegal, southern Mali and Guinea east to southern Sudan, northern South Sudan, Ethiopia and west Somalia and south to Namibia, Botswana and northern and north-eastern South Africa), and also occurs in south-west Arabia (south-west Saudi Arabia and Yemen).

It inhabits open country, including grasslands, savanna and sub-desert thornbush from sea level to 4,500 m but generally below 3,000 m. It is generally considered resident but some adults are nomadic.

Status: Near Threatened. Global population: 10,000-99,999 adult individuals with a decreasing population trend. Declines have taken place across much of this species's range owing to habitat loss and incidental poisoning/pollution; the overall rate of decline is difficult to quantify but is suspected to have been moderately rapid over the past three generations (41 years). There have been significant population declines and/or range contractions suspected in many regions, including Botswana, Côte d'Ivoire, Nigeria (an estimated decline of at least 50 % in 30 years and now essentially confined to protected areas), Somalia, South Africa, Sudan, parts of Zambia, Zimbabwe, and possibly parts of Tanzania.

The major cause of the decline seems to be almost entirely poisoning by a few large-scale commercial farmers, but poisoning is also a problem in tribal small-stock farming communities.

Diet: Mostly mammals and birds, but also some reptiles, carrion, insects and occasionally birds' eggs and crabs, foraging over a huge range (55-200 km2).

Nesting: Adults are a mid-sized, oddly-proportioned eagle, with very long pointed wings, 'tailless' appearance and bushy head. Wings held in a deep 'V' and flight fast with distinctive side to side tilting action. Males generally black but with chestnut from mantle to tail, brownish-gray shoulders, white under wing linings and bare red face and legs. Females have more extensive white under wings and gray secondaries.

Juveniles are all brown with blue-gray cere, face and legs and longer tail.

They breed from September-May in West Africa, throughout the year in East Africa and December-August in southern Africa. They construct a well-concealed nest in trees, laying a single egg which is incubated by the female for 42 to 43 days, with a further 90 to 125 days until fledging. Bateleurs pair for life, and will use the same nest for a number of years.

Unpaired birds, presumably from a previous clutch, will sometimes help at the nest.

Cool Facts: "Bateleur" is French for "Street Performer". This name implies the bird’s characteristic habit of rocking its wings from side to side when gliding, as if catching its balance like a tight-rope walker.

The Bateleur is generally silent, but on occasions it produces a variety of barks and screams. The bird spends a considerable amount of time on the wing, particularly in low-altitude glides.


Found in Songbird ReMix Birds of Prey Volume 5: Falcons, Hawks & Eagles

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