The Tawny Eagle, scientifically known as Aquila rapax, is one of the most powerful birds of prey. Like all eagles, it belongs to the family Accipitridae. This is a large eagle although it is one of the smaller species in the Aquila genus.
These birds are found in good numbers around Arathusa – they are permanent residents and can be seen throughout the year. They are mainly distributed throughout the central and northern parts of South Africa, with some in the far north into Zimbabwe and Zambia.
These powerful birds are efficient hunters but are also well-known for their scavenging habits – free food is free food! On several occasions, Rifos and I have been guided to fresh leopard and lion kills, due to the presence of these birds.
The Tawney Eagle has many colour variations, from a very light tan colour to a beautiful dark brown. The female eagle lays 1 – 3 eggs in a nest, and these hatch after being incubated for 39 – 45 days. As siblings can be aggressive towards each other, siblicide (killing of a sibling) is common in these species. Only the strongest of the chicks survive to adulthood.
Many guests will agree that Tawney Eagles make for interesting sighting.
Till next time,
Sean Gilbert and Rifos Mnisi