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Last updated on April 19, 2014 at 17:21 EDT

Martial Eagle

The Martial Eagle (Polemaetus bellicosus) is known to be Africa’s largest eagle, measuring on average 76-83 cm in length. Its preferred habitat is south of the Sahara Desert, in the semi-desert and open savanna regions of southern and eastern Africa. The eagle prefers to feed on game birds, but also eats animals such as snakes, jackals, lizards, young impalas and meerkats.

This is a very long-lived bird, living up to 50 years of age. They build nests up to 2 m across and 0.9 m deep. The female is larger than the male. Males tend to weigh about 5 kg, with females averaging 6 kg. Average wingspan is over 2.5 m.

The Martial Eagle has a slow reproduction rate. It will lay one chalky white egg every three years. This only occurs after the female reaches maturity which is about seven years after birth. This makes for about 14 hatchlings from one bird over the course of one lifetime.

Even though this bird is large and fierce, Martial Eagles are shot as they pursue farmers, young goats and lambs; as a result, the eagles are slowly dying away.

Martial Eagle