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Long-crested Eagle | Lophaetus occipitalis

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

The description for the Long-crested Eagle (Latin name Lophaetus occipitalis) can be found in the 7th Edition of the Roberts Birds of Southern Africa. The Lophaetus occipitalis can be quickly identified by its unique Roberts identification number of 139 and the detailed description of this bird is on page 539. You will find a picture of the Long-crested 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. There have been no changes in the Latin name for the Long-crested Eagle between the Roberts 6th and Roberts 7th Edition

The Long-crested Eagle is known in Afrikaans as Langkuifarend.

The Long-crested Eagle has a height of 58 cms and weighs around 1200 gms. The head is coloured purple while the bill is coloured black. The Lophaetus occipitalis has a purple coloured throat, brown legs and a purple, black coloured back. The eyes are yellow.

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 purple

Eyes are yellow

Bill is black

Legs are brown

Throat is purple

Back is purple, black

Feeding Habits ...

This bird forages for food on the ground

This bird hunts for small reptiles such as lizards, geckos and bush snakes. The Long-crested 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 Lophaetus occipitalis 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 Long-crested 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 Long-crested Eagle uses its hard bill to tear up the flesh.

Breeding, Habitat and Nesting Habits ...

The Long-crested 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 1 to 2 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 foligae.

The Long-crested Eagle is mainly found in light and densely wooded forests, where there are Mopane trees.

The bird is mainly found in the Savanna grasslands where it breeds and feeds.

The Long-crested Eagle is found in the Southern African wetlands, riverine forests and moist grasslands.

The bird is found in the African bushveld

This bird is very common in most of the Southern African Forests

You can see the Long-crested Eagle bird on coastal regions and on the sea shore where the bird will be foraging with other birds

The bird is an urban dweller as well, being at home in parks, gardens and in old vacated buildings

Seen in Flocks, Singles or Pairs Normally ...

The Long-crested Eagle is mainly seen singly or in pairs in the wild.

The reference for the information following is "Roberts Birds of Southern Africa", 7th Edition * edited by PAR Hockey, WRJ Dean and PG Ryan, published by "The Trustees of the John Voelcker Bird Book Fund."

copyright: Tony Roocroft +27-11-454-0105

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