Booted Eagle | Aquila pennatus

Robert's Birding Information: Booted Eagle

The Booted Eagle is a Southern African bird that belongs to the Accipitridae bird family group which includes birds such as Raptors, Old Vultures, Osprey.Booted Eagle

The description for the Booted Eagle (Latin name Aquila pennatus) can be found in the 7th Edition of the Roberts Birds of Southern Africa. The Aquila pennatus can be quickly identified by its unique Roberts identification number of 136 and the detailed description of this bird is on page 535. You will find a picture of the Booted Eagle on page 496.

NOTE: The reference for the information following is "Roberts Birds of Southern Africa", 7th Edition*. This edition contained a number of taxonomic changes as well as changes to English names used traditionally and in earlier editions of most bird books in South Africa. The following paragraph notes such changes if any.

There have been no changes in the common name between the Roberts 6th and Roberts 7th Edition. The Latin name for this bird is Hieraaetus pennatus in the Roberts 6th Edition.

The Booted Eagle is known in Afrikaans as Dwergarend.

The Booted Eagle has a height of 48 cms and weighs around 710 gms. The head is coloured brown while the bill is coloured grey. The Aquila pennatus has a white coloured throat, yellow legs and a brown coloured back. The eyes are orange.

Take note of the bird's main distinguishing features such as colour, size and leg length relative to the body size of the bird. Colours of a bird's body parts can be helpful. Be aware what may appear brown to one person is described in Roberts Birds using some other word ... for example brown, black. See colours used in Roberts.

Head is brown.

Eyes are orange.

Bill is grey.

Legs are yellow.

Throat is white.

Back is brown.

Photo's & Differentiating Between Male, Female & Juveniles

Please click the images below to make them larger:

Male Adult  
Female Adult  
Juvenile  
Non Breeding Plumage N/A

Booted Eagle Feeding Habits ...

This bird forages for food on the ground.

This bird hunts for small reptiles such as lizards, geckos and bush snakes. The Booted Eagle strikes poisonous snakes on the head with one fatal blow which kills the snake instantly. There have been cases were this bird has been killed by a snake while hunting. Some birds have been blinded by Cobra venom.

The Aquila pennatus attacks smaller birds in flight and uses its sharp claws to break the bird's neck. Some of the birds are attacked in their nests while others are killed on the ground. The Booted Eagle eats the eggs of its victim.

The diet includes small mammals such as rabbits, field mice and other rodents. Rodents are usually taken from the ground and killed using the sharp claws. The Booted Eagle uses its hard bill to tear up the flesh.

Booted Eagle Breeding, Habitat and Nesting Habits ...

The Booted Eagle is a monogamous bird which means that the bird finds and breeds with one partner for the rest of its life. The bird lays between 3 to 4 eggs and they are coloured white.

The nest is built high up in the tree canopy and is protected from predators by branches and the dense green foliage.

Seen in Flocks, Singles or Pairs Normally ...

The Booted Eagle is mainly seen singly or in pairs in the wild.